How James Gunn and Peter Safran landed the best spots at DC studios

Finally, head of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, has a new boss for DC Studios, and not one but two: Guardians of the Galaxy And the suicide squad Director James Gunn and DC Film Producer Peter Safran.

Both hold new titles as DC Studios co-chairs and CEOs, overseeing the overall creative direction of the DC Universe across film, television and animation under one banner. The duo will report to Zaslav, but they will also be in close contact with Warner Bros. Film Group co-chairs and CEOs Mike De Luca and Pam Abdi on matters like marketing, distribution and capital spending — just so they’re all on the same page. Gunn and Safran start from 1st November.

What happened here? Buzz was so intense that Safran was on the verge of getting the job last week in the wake of former DC Films chief Walter Hamade leaving the studio. Then insiders told us that wasn’t true; That first Safran deal announced last week was just a revamp. Turns out Safran didn’t want to run DC on his own unless there was a creative face, that’s his face peace maker And the suicide squad Gunn partner.

Apparently, the couple became more serious about the job rivals as they were advising Zaslav about candidates, one of whom was a former Warner Bros. veteran. lego movie Producer Dan Lin.

In his new role, Gunn is exclusive to Warner Bros. Discovery/DC. No more Marvel. He can only direct TV series and movies for Warner Discovery/DC. gan Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 It comes out via Disney/Marvel on May 5, 2023. There’s also a file Guardians of the Galaxy A special holiday hit Disney+. Models Zaslav and De Luca were eyeing here at Gunn-Safran because the new DC brand was closer to Pixar than Disney, where there is a creative and hands-on face.

In the meantime, Safran will continue to be run by chief production officer John Ricard. They have several projects in the mix in and out of Warners’ DC including Idris Elba-John Cena’s work feature heads of state In the works at Amazon Studios.

While Lin was a serious candidate, we heard he asked too much from Zaslav. Some insiders say untangling Lynn from his deal at Universal, which included a financing component, was difficult, but others say it wasn’t that complicated. The conversations simply broke down.

Safran was easier for Zaslav since he already had a deal at first sight at Warner Bros.

Jan and Safran will work closely with Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO of HBO and HBO Max Content; In addition to Channing Dungey, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Warner Bros. Television Group; Kathleen Finch, Chairman and Chief Content Officer, US Networks Group; Pam Lyford, president of Warner Bros. Discovery Consumer Products; and David Haddad, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Zaslav is still looking for a new president for Warner Bros. Animation, which is the third set of features alongside Warner Bros. Motion Pictures and DC that he selected when taking over the new conglomerate.

Development insiders in the studio are excited: The prospect of outfitting the writers’ room under Gunn’s leadership is a tempting opportunity for talent and clerks.

In their new roles, Gunn and Safran will lead the development and implementation of a long-term plan for multiple DC Comics-licensed properties, focused on continuing DC’s storytelling tradition across all media, while building a sustainable growth business from outside the franchise. Safran has been a major focus of the Warners / New Line play between the building Sorcery to the biggest horror franchise ever worth $2 billion worldwide, and sponsorship of the highest-grossing DC movie of all time, Aquaman, $1.1 billion plus Shazam!; and Gunn suicide squad and the live HBO Max series peace maker. Also in sight from the capital Safran Shazam: Wrath of the Gods (March 17), blue ladybug (delivery date August 18, 2023) and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom On Christmas 2023.

Not produced by Safran, but certainly DC, it stars Ezra Miller Sparkle Determined on June 23, 2023.

“DC is among the most exciting, powerful and creative characters in the world, and I am thrilled to have the unique and complementary talents of James and Peter join our world-class team and oversee the creative direction of the global DC universe,” Zaslav said today. “Their decades of experience in the film industry, close ties to the creative community, and a track record of excitement for superhero fans around the world make them uniquely qualified to develop a long-term strategy across film, television and animation, and take this iconic franchise to the next level of novel Creative stories.

Gunn and Safran added, “We are honored to be the moderators for these DC characters we’ve loved since we were kids. We look forward to collaborating with the world’s most talented writers, directors, and actors to create an integrated, multi-layered world that still allows for individual expression for the artists involved. Our commitment to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and the rest of DC’s characters are matched only by our commitment to the wonders of the human potential that these characters represent. We’re excited to revitalize the theatrical experience across the world as we tell some of the biggest, sweetest, and most amazing stories ever told. We’re excited Especially for doing all this with Mike, Pam, Casey, Channing, and the entire Warner Bros. Discovery Team, and we are grateful to David Zaslav, with whom we share his bold vision for the future of the franchise and allow it to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Most of all, we can’t wait To bring you all to the story of the DCU.”

De Luca and Abdi said, “We couldn’t be more excited to have James John and Peter Safran join the team and lead DC Universe. James is a brilliant film and story maker and Peter a successful and prolific producer, and having them commit to working together to shape this new era for DC is a dream come true. It comes true. We all share a very similar sensitivity and passion for this universe and the stars couldn’t have aligned better. We can’t wait to start working, researching and collaborating with these unparalleled creative minds.”

Before suicide squad Made by Gunn Scooby Doo And the Scooby-Doo 2 In Warner Bros.; The first he directed, the second he wrote. He also wrote a remake of Zack Snyder in 2004 for George Romero The dawn of the dead. Other film credits include horror comedy sliddark superhero comedy excellent and the Guardians of the Galaxy A Marvel franchise that grosses over $1.6 billion at the global box office.

Safran’s production credits add to more than $4 billion in global box office revenue. Including three DC movies next year, he has four releases via Warners as a producer including nun 2 He is currently overseeing production in Europe. Prior to founding his own company, Safran was president of Brillstein-Gray Management, which has represented some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

DC had a #1 movie last weekend at New Line’s Dwayne Johnson movie black AdamAnd the which saw the actor best box office debut as a solo star with a first frame grossing $67 million domestic and $140 million worldwide.

Here’s Zaslav’s internal memo to staff today about John and Safran:

everybody,

We are excited to announce that two of the industry’s most talented and experienced filmmakers, James Gunn and Peter Safran, will join our team on November 1 in the new roles of co-chairs and CEO of DC Studios, to oversee overall creativity. The direction of the DC Universe across movies, television, and animation. As we make this transition to unite the creative expression of DC under one banner, we are grateful to Walter Hamadeh for his many contributions to both DC and New Line over the years.

I’ve spent the past few months talking in depth with James and Peter about the future of the DC Universe and I’m more excited than ever about where the franchise is headed with them on its head. They will report to me and will work closely with Mike De Luca and Pam Abdi as well as my other Creative Director Channing Dungey, Casey Bloys, Kathleen Finch, Pam Lyford and David Haddad. We now have a full leadership team… an experienced and strong team.

One of our company’s great strengths is our unparalleled pool of IPs that includes many of the most beloved superheroes ever… a few. For more than 60 years, these and other DC characters have captivated and inspired generations of fans around the world… And as administrators of the famous franchise, we feel a real responsibility to preserve and expand the DCU for the enjoyment of future generations. In many ways, we are only beginning to scratch the surface. James and Peter have a broad vision of DC’s storytelling and how it all fits together, and they plan to create more compelling and memorable experiences for DC fans around the world, while building a sustainable growth business from the iconic franchise.

James and Peter have extensive experience in the superhero genre having brought some of the most iconic Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Universe characters to life in successful films and series, including: Marvel’s blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxythe highest film in the capital, Aquaman; Shazam!; suicide squadHBO Max spin-off series, peace maker. They are highly respected by creators and talents alike and bring their deep love and appreciation for DCU’s characters and stories to their new roles. As they tell me, this is a passion project for them, not just a job…and that would certainly be evident in their storytelling.

When James was 10 years old, growing up in Missouri, he went to a comic book convention with his father, and he said the experience changed his life forever. Escape into his own world with comic books, he began drawing and writing his own comics and started making films when he was just 11 years old. This prompted him to embark on his creative journey as a director and storyteller. His experience also demonstrates the true power of these characters in inspiring audiences of all ages.

Peter has worked extensively in both the horror and superhero genres and has produced several successful films and series for Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line, including the entire movie Sorcery universe, is the most successful horror movie series of all time with $2 billion+ at the worldwide box office and the number is on the rise. He and James have collaborated on many projects over the years and have a close working relationship. In fact, they told me that one of the things that attracted them the most about this opportunity was the opportunity to lead DC Studios together.

We couldn’t have asked for a better DC management team and we are very excited to welcome them to WBD next week. Please join me in wishing James and Peter success!

David


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