Warner Bros. is shifting some of its comic book properties to a different studio. In an effort to consolidate focus on its DC Movie Universe, which includes Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman in the immediate future, Deadline reports that the studio is opting to move properties under the DC-owned Vertigo comics imprint to sister studio New Line Cinema. This includes Sandman, the film adaptation of the Neil Gaiman comic that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is attached to direct and star in, as well as Constantine, Dark Universe, Preacher, and Lucifer.
Vertigo was originally created to focus on comics that did not meet the guidelines of the Comics Code Authority, which means the Vertigo books were inherently darker, edgier, and more adult in contrast to the DC comics. Obviously the lines have blurred in recent years, especially in the film world where we have a rather dark-looking Suicide Squad movie in production with Fury and End of Watch director David Ayer.
So what does this mean for the titles that fall under Vertigo? It’s unclear exactly how these film adaptations may differ, but it’s possible the Vertigo movies could carry smaller budgets than the films that come out of Warner Bros. proper. New Line has focused on comedies and horror films as of late like Horrible Bosses 2, We’re the Millers, and Annabelle, so it’ll be interesting to see where the Vertigo materials fit in.
One question is, would these films exist as part of the established DC Movie Universe that includes Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash, or would Vertigo films exist in their own separate movie universe? Or will they be standalone films entirely?
Of all the Vertigo comics, a Sandman movie is the furthest along in development at the moment with David S. Goyer producing. Preacher is in the process of becoming a TV series at AMC, with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg deep in production on the pilot. Constantine just suffered an abrupt run on NBC before being canceled, and a Lucifer TV series will premiere this fall on Fox.
It’s possible that this move could prove to be in the best interest of the Vertigo titles. Warner Bros. clearly has its hands full with some positively massive DC superhero movies, and with Vertigo now under New Line’s purview, that studio can put a more concentrated focus on developing these properties than would have been possible at WB.
One Vertigo comic that isn’t moving to New Line is Justice League Dark, which is remaining at Warner Bros. Guillermo del Toro penned a screenplay for the pic and had been attached to direct for a while, but THR now reports that he is no longer involved. This isn’t a huge surprise, as he’s currently in the midst of prepping Pacific Rim 2 and wouldn’t have had time in his schedule to devote to JLD for a few years.