The hierarchy of power in the DC universe is truly changing.
In a surprising turn of events, filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran have been tapped to lead DC Studios as co-presidents and co-CEOs of DC’s film, TV and animation efforts, the newly formed division at Warner Bros. that will replace DC. movies.
The unprecedented move, in which a top director will assume the top executive position, marks the end of a months-long search by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav to replace DC Films boss Walter Hamada, who left the studio last week. That search had all of Hollywood speculating and playing executive bingo about who would land one of the most coveted — and challenging — jobs in town.
In recent weeks, Gunn and Safran have been spotted on the Warner Bros. lot, meeting with Warners Film co-president Michael De Luca about future projects. And according to sources, the initial overture to Safran and Gunn came from De Luca over the summer, when the studio was in volatile talks with producer Dan Lynn to take over the job.
Gunn will focus on the creative side of things, while Safran will focus on the business and production side. Both are expected to continue directing and producing projects respectively. They will report directly to Zaslav and work closely with Warners film owners De Luca and Pamela Abdi. Sources say the deal will run for four years and Gunn will be exclusive to DC. The goal for them is to act not only as a producer, but also as an executive, even if Gunn sometimes scuttles the movie.
Unlike Marvel Studios, DC has multiple films set in separate creative universes, and according to sources, the clown Work on filmmaker Todd Phillips’ upcoming sequel, which goes into production later this year, will not fall under the purview of Gunn and Safran and will instead be overseen by De Luca and Abdi. Matt Reeves, who works under Hamada, has an emerging universe based on him Batman movie It’s unclear who Reeves’ future projects will fall under, but going forward everything will be under Gunn and Safran.
“DC has some of the most entertaining, powerful and iconic characters in the world and I’m thrilled to have the individual and complementary talents of James and Peter join our world-class team and oversee the creative direction of the storied DC Universe,” said. Zaslav in a statement. “Their decades of experience in filmmaking, close ties to the creative community, and proven track record of exciting superhero fans around the world make them uniquely qualified to develop a long-term strategy across film, TV and animation, and take this iconic franchise to the next level of creative storytelling.”
Gunn is one of the most respected minds in the world of comic book filmmaking. He moved into the indie film space and became an A-list director in 2014 with Marvel Studios. Guardians of the Galaxy and its 2017 sequel. He jumped to DC to develop in 2018 Suicide Squad After rival Marvel removed him as director Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. (The studio later reinstated him, and that project is coming in May 2023.) His DC foray Suicide Squad was critically loved and spawned a hit HBO Max spinoff the peacemaker, starring John Cena. Gunn is currently working on the second season.
Safran came on board as a manager, where Gunn was among his clients, and is fully involved in the world of DC as a $1 billion-grossing producer. Aquaman And its upcoming sequel, as well the team, the peacemaker and Shazam! and its sequel. His relationship with Warners goes back 10 years and includes $2 billion Conjuring The dreaded franchise. Safran Company recently renewed its production deal with Warners.
Gunn and Safran will work with top executives at WBD, including TV boss Channing Dungey; HBO and HBO Max’s Casey Bloys; US Network Group President and Chief Content Officer Kathleen Finch; Pam Lifford, head of consumer products; and David Haddad of Warner Interactive Entertainment. DC Studios will share resources across the company.
“We are honored to be stewards of these DC characters that we have loved since we were children,” Gunn and Safran said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the world’s most talented writers, directors, and actors to create a unified, multi-layered universe that still allows for the individual expression of the cast involved. The commitment is only equaled by our commitment to the wonder of human possibility that these characters represent. We are excited to strengthen the theatrical experience around the world as we tell some of the biggest, most beautiful and greatest stories ever heard.”
The move comes at a seismic moment for DC, which has been led by Hamada under the DC Films banner for the past four years. The executive left amid friction with new Warner leadership led by Zaslav, who made the controversial decision to ax the HBO Max-bound film. A beautiful girl in August and has promised to reshape DC with a 10-year plan as it seeks to compete with rival Marvel Studios. Although Jaslav talked about finding a Kevin Feige-style executive, over the summer the team began to emulate the Pixar model, in which you have producers and filmmakers working as executives. That’s never been attempted in the live-action space.
DC issued Black Adam Over the weekend, which stars Dwayne Johnson and Superman actor Henry Cavill’s return to the DC universe, and there’s another. Shazam! Wrath of the GodsOut in March.
As for Gunn’s future at Marvel, there has been discussion that he may continue in some form after the conclusion. his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. However, today’s news, which comes just hours after Marvel directed its upcoming Gun Parents The holiday special appears to have closed the door on its chapter in the MCU.
Enlistment takes effect November 1, and De Luca and Abdi are making creative decisions and overseeing post-production. Flash who Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Since taking office in early July.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have James Gunn and Peter Safran join the team and take the helm of the DC Universe,” De Luca and Abdi said in a statement. “James is a talented filmmaker and storyteller and Peter is a very successful and well-known producer, and the commitment of the two of them to work together to create this new era for DC is a literal dream come true. We all share a very similar sensibility and passion for this universe. And the stars couldn’t align any better. We can’t wait to get started, dig in, and collaborate with these unmatched creative minds.”