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THE DC UNIVERSE AND THE FUTURE OF STORYTELLING


Saturday, July 15 3:00-4:00 pm, Steven J. Ross Theater

What started as comic books has expanded into an incredible universe of content across multiple platforms. From TV shows to movies and video games, DC has successfully expanded the comic book genre to other media forms, offering tremendous innovations across storytelling. Join us as we learn from DC executives and talent about the techniques and technologies used to create new content and stories that continue to define the future of the DC Universe.

DC Justice League

 

Diane Nelson, DC Entertainment
DIANE NELSON
President, DC Entertainment
President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Diane Nelson serves as President of DC Entertainment (DCE) and President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP).

As President of DC Entertainment, Nelson is charged with leading the efforts to fully realize the power and value of DCE’s rich portfolio of stories and characters, including such cultural icons as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, across all media and platforms, while strategically integrating the DC, Vertigo and MAD brands deeply across Warner Bros. Entertainment and all its content and distribution businesses.

Since 2009, when Nelson took over leadership of DCE, the comic book publisher has partnered with Studio colleagues on the development of television projects, feature films, blockbuster video games, as well as a host of other impressive headline-making initiatives – all sparking Advertising Age to name DC Entertainment one of America’s Hottest Brands.

In close collaboration with Warner Bros. Television, there are more DC TV shows on the air than ever before.  A total of ten DC shows will air during the 2016-2017 season.  New series include Powerless (NBC) and the animated show Justice League Action (Cartoon Network) with returning series Supergirl (CW), Arrow (CW), The Flash (CW), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (CW), iZombie (CW), Gotham (FOX), Lucifer (FOX) and the animated show Teen Titans Go! (Cartoon Network).

A robust DC film slate through 2020 in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures includes The LEGO Batman Movie (2017), Wonder Woman (2017), Justice League (2017), The Flash (2018), Aquaman (2018), Justice League 2 (2019), Cyborg (2020) and Green Lantern Corps. (2020).  Films in development at New Line Cinemas include Shazam! and Vertigo’s Fables, 100 Bullets, and The Kitchen.

In partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, DC is home to the most successful super hero game franchise in the industry – Batman: Arkham.  Other DC games include Batman: The Telltale Series, Batman: Arkham Underworld and the much anticipated Injustice 2.

Nelson’s responsibilities at Warner Bros. Consumer Products include working with divisional management on the group’s global business strategies and execution to optimize Warner Bros.’ slate of film, television and animation properties.  WBCP represents some of the most highly regarded entertainment franchises in the world, including DC (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman), J.K. Rowling’s Wizard World (Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts), The Hobbit Trilogy, Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo and The Big Bang Theory, among many others.  In addition, WBCP manages a successful global themed entertainment business, which includes the groundbreaking The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Previously, Nelson also served as President & Chief Content Officer of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment where she was responsible for overseeing the development of a slate of top-tier digitally powered console and mobile games, including those based on DC characters, as well as other Warner Bros. properties and original IP.  In addition, she has served as President of Warner Premiere, developing and producing direct-to-dvd feature films and short-form digital content for Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s distribution businesses. She was also Executive Vice President, Global Brand Management for Warner Bros. Entertainment, a group she started in 2005 in order to continue the cross-company brand management work she began on the Harry Potter property in 2000, expanding efforts to include such iconic films as Batman Begins, Superman Returns, The Polar Express, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Happy Feet.

Nelson transitioned into this cross-company role from her position as Executive Vice President of Domestic Marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures.  She has held a number of other positions within the Studio, having joined the company in 1996 as Director of Worldwide Corporate Promotions.

Nelson came to Warner Bros. from Walt Disney Records, where she served as Director of National Promotions.

Active in philanthropy, Nelson serves on the Board of the Boulder, Colorado-based There with Care, a non-profit organization that supports families with children affected by critical illnesses.

Nelson is a graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications.

David Haddad, Warner Bros.
DAVID HADDAD
President
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

David Haddad is President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE), and he is responsible for all aspects of WBIE’s overall operations, including publishing, operations, sales, marketing, digital/mobile games, business development and game production. 

Haddad joined the company in 2013 and became President of WBIE in 2015.  Under his oversight, WBIE creates games across all platforms utilizing its wholly owned, award-winning development studios—TT Games, Rocksteady Studios, NetherRealm Studios, Monolith Productions, Turbine, Avalanche Software, WB Games Montreal, WB Games New York and WB Games San Francisco.

In 2017, WBIE is launching several highly anticipated games including, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Injustice 2, LEGO City Undercover, LEGO Worlds, and continuing to release new expansion packs for LEGO Dimensions. As the head of WBIE, Haddad also serves on the board of the Entertainment Software Association.

Prior to joining WBIE, Haddad was the COO of the Guitar Hero Division, one of the top video game franchises of all time, of Activision Blizzard, where he was responsible for all aspects of the global business. Before the merger of Activision and Vivendi Games, Haddad was COO of the Sierra Online division. Haddad oversaw Sierra Online’s global product marketing, sales, live production and business development initiatives for PC platform and console downloadable titles.

Prior to joining Sierra Online, Haddad was executive vice president of Business Development for The Hatchery, a family-focused media entertainment company.  Haddad led the company’s business development initiatives, operations and business strategy and was responsible for scouting and acquiring intellectual properties for development. Before The Hatchery, Haddad was President and COO of Liveplanet Inc., an entertainment company (founded by Ben Affleck & Matt Damon) that developed integrated programming designed to leverage the power of traditional media with new media.

Haddad was also a divisional President at Mattel, overseeing its Mattel Media, interactive toy division and the Barbie Division.  Haddad also served as Vice President and Publisher of the Walt Disney Company’s children’s publishing division.

He holds an MBA in marketing from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree in business from Miami University.

Geoff Johns, DC Entertainment
GEOFF JOHNS
President and Chief Creative Officer
DC Entertainment

Geoff Johns is one of the most prolific and popular contemporary comic book writers and also serves as President and Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment (DCE).

As President and Chief Creative Officer, Johns is charged with leading all creative efforts to fully integrate DC Entertainment’s rich portfolio of characters and stories from iconic brands such as DC (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables) and MAD across all media.  Since assuming this post, Johns, in partnership with various Warner Bros. divisions, has helmed many of the comic book publisher’s greatest multimedia successes, including blockbuster video games such as the Batman: Arkham series; the development of new television projects: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, Gotham, Supergirl, The Flash, iZombie and Lucifer; as well as hugely popular feature films such as Man of Steel and the record-breaking Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which he executive produced.

As a world-renowned and award-winning writer, Johns has written many of the comic book industry’s most popular stories starring Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Teen Titans, and the Justice League.  Furthermore, Johns is the author of the New York Times best-selling graphic novels Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns, Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War, Superman: Brainiac, Blackest Night and Batman: Earth One.

Besides comics, Johns has written for various other media, including the acclaimed “Legion” episode of Smallville, and the fourth season of Robot Chicken.  Most recently, Johns has written several highly regarded episodes of Arrow and The Flash, such as “Muse on Fire” (Arrow), “Dead to Writes,” (Arrow) and “Going Rogue” (The Flash).

Johns began his career writing Stars AND S.T.R.I.P.E. and creating Stargirl for DC Comics.  He received the Wizard Fan Award for Breakout Talent of 2002 and Writer of the Year for 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 as well as the CBG Writer of the Year 2003 through 2005 ad 2007 and 2008, and CBG Best Comic Book Series for JSA 2001 through 2005.

Johns was born in Detroit and studied media arts, screenwriting, film production, and film theory at Michigan State University.  After moving to Los Angeles, he worked as an intern and later an assistant for film director Richard Donner, whose credits include Superman: The Movie, Lethal Weapon 4, and Conspiracy Theory.

Jim Lee, DC Entertainment
JIM LEE
Publisher
DC Entertainment

Jim Lee, a world-renowned comic book artist, writer, editor and publisher, is currently Publisher of DC Entertainment (DCE) alongside Dan DiDio.

Known for his incredibly detailed and dynamic artistic style, Lee is one of the most revered and respected artists in American comics. A veritable legend in the industry, he has received numerous accolades and recognition for his work, including a Harvey Award, an Inkpot Award, Diamond Gemstone Awards and Wizard Fan Awards.

Since becoming Publisher in 2010, Lee has overseen many of the company’s highly successful publishing programs including the recent record-breaking Rebirth line of comics, as well as The New 52 initiative that relaunched the entire line of monthly superhero comic books.  As part of the revamp, Lee designed and reimagined the new, more contemporary costumes for some of the DC universe's most iconic characters, including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

In addition, Lee also serves as the Executive Creative Director for DC Universe Online (DCUO), the only massively multiplayer online (MMO) game set in the DC superhero universe.  Created by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), this story-driven action adventure game is currently operated by Daybreak Games.

Prior to his current post at DC, Lee served as Editorial Director at DC where he oversaw WildStorm Studios and was also the artist for many of DC’s bestselling comic books and graphic novels, including ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER, BATMAN: HUSH, and SUPERMAN: FOR TOMORROW.

Jim Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1964 but moved with his family to St. Louis, Missouri when he was young.  After graduating cum laude with a BA in Psychology from Princeton University in 1986, he started his professional career at Marvel Comics where his work on the X-Men continues to hold the all-time sales record for single-issue sales at an incredible 8 million copies sold in one month.

In 1992, he started his own production company, WildStorm Productions, and co-founded Image Comics, an independent comics company that quickly grew to become the third largest North American publisher.  Two of his creations, WILDCATS and GEN 13, saw life beyond comics as a CBS Saturday morning cartoon and as a DTV animated movie distributed by Disney, respectively.  In 1998, DC purchased WildStorm Productions and Lee left Image Comics to join the DC Entertainment creative team.

Lee graduated cum laude with a BA in Psychology from Princeton University and resides in Toluca Lake, CA with his wife, 9 kids, 3 dogs and 2 cats.

Ron Sanders, DC Entertainment
RON SANDERS
President
Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution

As President of Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution, Ronald (Ron) J. Sanders oversees the world’s largest distributor of home entertainment product to consumers.

Under the leadership of Mr. Sanders, Warner Bros. has consistently held the top market share in Hollywood in home entertainment, including the distribution of product involving such iconic franchises as Batman, Superman, The Hobbit, Harry Potter and LEGO. With consumers increasingly embracing new technologies enabling the delivery of entertainment across myriad fixed and mobile platforms, Mr. Sanders has built Warner Bros. Home Entertainment into the industry’s largest digital distributor of films and TV shows through video on demand and electronic sell through.

In recognition of his leadership, Mr. Sanders since 2008 has served as Chairman of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, a coalition involving Hollywood’s film studios as well as many of the world’s largest technology, electronics, and digital delivery companies.

In his current position, Mr. Sanders oversees the global distribution of home entertainment products from Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE). Mr. Sanders also is responsible for the studio’s videogame publishing business. As one of the industry’s top five largest publishers of videogames, Warner Bros. has released such bestselling titles as Batman: Arkham, Mortal Combat, Shadow of Mordor, and the hugely popular LEGO games. In addition, Mr. Sanders also co-manages Warner Bros.’ local language films developed and released in countries worldwide.

Mr. Sanders joined Warner Bros. in 1991 after serving in various capacities with consumer products giant Procter & Gamble. An inductee into Variety’s Home Entertainment Hall of Fame, Mr. Sanders earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Auburn University in Alabama. In addition to serving as an Emeritus Member of the Auburn University School of Business Advisory Council, Mr. Sanders is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

ANNE KOLBE
Executive Vice President of Visual Effects
Warner Bros. Pictures