In the wake of Justice League’s tepid box office performance and mixed reception from both fans and critics, Jon Berg, the film’s producer and head of Warner Bros.’ DC comics production arm, is reportedly stepping away from his involvement with the DC extended universe at the studio.
Berg is said to be leaving his DC role to become a production partner at Warner Bros. alongside IT and The Lego Movie producer Roy Lee, according to Variety. Warner Bros. released a statement to Variety and other media outlets saying Berg’s role shift had been discussed within the studio well before the release of Justice League.
“This is something that Jon approached me about six months ago, and he expressed his goal was to ultimately be a producer at the studio,” Toby Emmerich, president of Warner Bros. Picture Group, said in the statement. “We’re thrilled that Jon is partnering with Roy and anticipate their company being a valuable source of movies for Warner Bros. and New Line.”
While Berg’s ongoing relationship with Warner Bros. demonstrates the amicable nature of the change, it follows on the heels of a mixed year for the DCEU on the big screen. Wonder Woman set a new precedent for what DC films could accomplish, both commerically and critically, but that film set a high bar that Justice League couldn't manage to meet.
Variety reported unnamed inside sources forecasting a January 2018 restructuring of the way Warner Bros. develops film properties within the DCEU, with Emmerich said to be “weighing the idea of further integrating DC’s film operations into the studio’s main movie arm.”
It’s not clear whether, or how, that move could affect in-development DC projects like Aquaman, Wonder Woman 2, and full-length features based on Captain Marvel (Shazam!) and The Flash.
Geoff Johns, DC’s chief creative officer who oversees its television offerings such as The Flash and Arrow, could be brought on for a more active role on the film side, according to the report.
Justice League has grossed an estimated $572 million worldwide since its Nov. 17 release, a figure analysts believe has disappointed the studio considering the film’s outsized production budget. The ensemble character crossover was, in most respects, DC’s answer to Marvel’s phenomenally successful Avengers film series, which has consistently performed well at the box office, alongside most films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including this fall's Thor: Ragnarok.