Under Emmerich’s leadership, Warner Bros’ New Line film division released incredibly successful productions as James Wan’s “Aquaman”, Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born”, and Jon M. Chu’s “Crazy Rich Asians”. Despite those accomplishments for the studio, the former chairman has faced mounting criticisms in the last few years.
Some of the criticisms concerned the controversial decision to release films in theaters and on the streaming platform HBO Max simultaneously. A particularly vocal group of DC film fans have also used hashtags such as #FireTobyEmmerich in response to the apparent inability to make the DCEU even a remote contender with the cinematic powerhouse that is the MCU.
Many DCEU fans have called for the studio to more fully explore the DC multiverse of characters and storylines that are available to them. Indeed, when comparing the ownership of certain properties, it would seem as though Warner Bros. Discovery has much more freedom than Marvel Studios. In a June 2021 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Toby Emmerich did express a desire to utilize HBO Max as a major tool to marry content from theatrical to streaming.
The much-talked-about series “Peacemaker” (a spin-off from James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad”) is a key example of that strategy. Nevertheless, while most viewers of that series did enjoy seeing much more development of John Cena’s titular character (especially under James Gunn’s direction and highlighting Gunn’s signature humor), some were aggravated that premier DC characters such as the Justice League members featured in 2021’s “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” had been sidelined. New Warner Bros. Discovery David Zaslav has addressed this issue and seems determined to take advantage of the legendary levels of name-recognition accrued by characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman over many decades of comic and film history.
For DC fans who viewed Toby Emmerich as an obstacle in the way of the DCEU’s success, the news of his departure certainly brings up questions of how the Warner Bros. Discovery will change its method of film production moving forward. David Zaslav’s plan to have three separate film divisions reporting directly to him appears to have been met with a favorable response. Those film divisions currently would be Warner Bros.-New Line, DC, and then the animation studio. Instead of Toby Emmerich, Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy would be leading Warner Bros New Line. It is important to note that Emmerich will not be completely removed from the goings-on at Warner Bros. Discovery and is said to be receiving a production deal.