Jeff Robinov will take over as president of Warner Bros. later this week, and while this is typically the sort of inside-baseball industry talk that often has little bearing on what we see on this side of the screen, his ascension is notable for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the dude apparently hates David Fincher, a long-held grudge left over from working together on Zodiac and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button that has all but ensured that Fincher will never make a film for Warner Bros. as long as Robinov is in charge.
For another, this L.A. Times profile paints him as a lover of “tentpole” films, and yet someone who’s credited with “his willingness to take creative risks on ambitious movies”—although most of those “risks” come in the form of putting people like Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder in charge of his big event movies, while one of his most notable career moves was the time passed on Slumdog Millionaire. And for all his talk of supporting their independent visions, even Nolan points out that Robinov was the one who insisted on putting the Batmobile in Batman Begins despite the realistic tone he was going for, while Guy Ritchie also recalls how Robinov asked him to “lighten the music” in Sherlock Holmes. So obviously, for all his “willingness to take creative risks,” Robinov still thinks with the mall in mind.
It’s not surprising, then, that his “first priority” upon taking over the studio is keeping the film’s comic-book franchises going—and more specifically, getting the long-gestating Justice League movie off the ground. According to Robinov, a new draft of the script that’s been kicking around since the mid-’00s is currently in the works with an eye on a 2013 release. In the meantime, they’re developing separate films for The Flash and Wonder Woman that could exist as their own spinoff franchises after Justice League is completed. As opposed to Marvel’s strategy with The Avengers, Robinov seems to want to get his big superhero team-up happening first, then sort out their individual stories later.
Of course, Superman, Green Lantern, and Batman already have their own individual movies coming up, and now Robinov has dropped the first hints of what may happen with the studio’s “centerpiece property” after Nolan finishes The Dark Knight Rises: Robinov says somewhat ominously that the studio will be looking to “reinvent Batman” with Nolan producing—whose participation is probably cold comfort for anyone who remembers that Tim Burton also produced Batman Forever, a film that sent the franchise down a rabbit hole of cartoony catchphrases and rubber nipples that required Nolan’s most recent "reinvention" in the first place. Who knows what another "reinvention" would look like this time? Hey, perhaps for this latest round of "reinvention," Batman could stop being a man and instead become a sophisticated, Rube Goldbergian system of levers and pulleys. "Reinvention." That word is annoying.