How Crucial is Universe Branding to Today’s Franchises?

George Chrysostomou on the importance of the universe branding…

We cannot get away from the fact that today’s cinema (and to an extent TV) is dominated by the concept of the shared universe. It seems that almost every story, film and character has to be linked in order to create a further expansive world, which can both bring new fans to different aspects of that franchise, and perhaps even made make people feel like they need to watch every instalments to really feel like a true fan. Either way, it’s a good business move, but one that has produced mixed results in terms of quality of output. However, that’s not what this article is about. What this is really about, is how crucial is this universe brand to today’s franchises?

It was revealed recently that the DC Extended Universe isn’t called that at all, with no official brand name encompassing the movie series as a whole. Warner Bros. seems to be having an issue with branding its DC properties at present, with a cinematic universe, a TV Arrowverse, an Animated Universe, a selection of standalone TV series, previous unrelated films, and future projects distinct from the Justice League movies, such as the Joker origin film. Although it is being said that the movie side of things are all connected (mostly?), it’s clear that in comparison to other models, Warner Bros. is approaching this concept differently. That’s not to say there is a right way though, with DC projects still being incredibly successful, especially with their TV and animated departments being very well received.

Universe building doesn’t stop on the big screen. The CW is using their ties to animation and CW Seed to create Arrowverse shows within this other medium. Gaming is a crucial part as well, with DC titles such as the Arkham games and Injustice proving very successful, although for the most part they are distinct from other DC projects, save for the occasional comic book tie-in or animated movie such as Batman: Assault…

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