Warner Premiere released Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic in 2008. The series of a dozen 20-minute installments brings Alan Moore’s epic superhero critique to life through the illustrations of Dave Gibbons and the voice of Tom Stechschulte. Viewers who like watching the Watchmen could originally catch the series on iTunes and later find it online or on DVD (which currently still ranks at #78 on Amazon’s Animated, Superhero, Action & Adventure Movies & TV Shows Bestseller List).
The motion comic was so successful for Warner Premiere that over the next two years the media company released seven more, bringing 2D images from properties like Batman, Peanuts, Bat Girl, and Jonah Hex to life. During that time, Warner Premiere also debuted a six-part Terminator Salvation Machinima series and an animated visual album for the four piece, British indie rock group One eskimO.
Other major motion picture studios and multi-million dollar entertainment conglomerates have seen their digital production and distribution arms come and go, but Warner Premiere’s been consistently producing quality online programming for the past two years. That’s a fact Eva Davis, SVP and General Manager of Warner Premiere, is quick to point out.
“We’ve been committed to this space for a while,” Davis told me over the phone. “I will emphasize that over that time there’s been a lot of trial and error in the business, but we do feel confident that we have good ideas.”
Three of those good ideas are upcoming web series.
The Clique is an Alloy Entertainment production based on the teen girl’s novel of the same name. It’s centered on the exploits of a fictional middle school’s popular group of girls dubbed “The Pretty Committee.” H+ is for an older crowd. Producer Bryan Singer and writers and executive producers John Cabrera and Cosimo de Tommaso are crafting an episodic two-and-a-half hour futuristic, apocalyptic tale of technology gone wrong. Aim High tells the story of a high school assassin (part of an elite group of 64 teenagers trained by a covert government program) who has to deal with all the drama of high school in addition to executing his hits. Peter Murietta is the executive producer and McG (who’s no stranger to web series) will direct.
No distributors are attached to the projects just yet, but Davis suggests Warner Premiere will most likely release the content through viewing windows on a variety of paid and advertiser-supported platforms. No word on sponsors either, though I was told we should expect to hear announcements about advertisers in another month or two.
If H+ sounds familiar to savvy Tubefilter readers, that’s because we wrote about the series when it was first announced almost two years ago. “There’s no particular reason why it took so long,” Davis explained. “We got our feet under us starting with the animated series and H+ just took this long to come to fruition.”
That’s probably a good thing.
Warner Premiere’s had time to hone it’s digital strategy, ensuring H+ a better chance at success, both in terms of viewership and profit. Davis explained how her team has learned to ensure their “content is flexible across multiple platforms – not just digital platforms. That includes domestic and international television as well as DVD sales in the US and abroad.”
Expect to see many more digital productions from Warner Premiere in addition to The Clique, H+, and Aim High. Davis wouldn’t divulge any specifics, but the studio’s obviously amenable to working with established talent, as well as pre-existing franchises from the Warner Bros. content library.
“We have a full slate and we’ll be making announcements every couple of months,” Davis said. “We’re in this space for the long haul.”