Why DC’s move to the small screen could be great

DC is aping Marvel’s move to TV, thanks to its superhero streaming deal with HBO Max. It might even iron out the wrinkles in its flawed Extended Universe

In print, DC Comics was the trailblazer for superheroes more than 80 years ago – while Marvel emerged as a 1960s enfant terrible, shaking up the genre by humanising its costumed crime-fighters and engaging with the emerging counterculture. On the big screen, despite mainstays such as Superman and Batman having made it to the multiplex long before Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor, DC Films has found itself playing catch-up following the astounding success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a superhero sandpit in which scores of mega-powered titans have been able to play for more than a decade now.

This picture doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon, following news that DC, owned by Warner Bros, is to move even more of its content to the streaming platform HBO Max. Industry reports suggest four movies a year will now be released in cinemas, and two will be released straight to the small screen. While the move has come in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the effect on cinema chains, it also looks a lot like Marvel’s activity at Disney+, where the studio is bringing multiple TV shows and movies featuring its core roster from the MCU over the next two years.

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