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In August, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav declared he would find leaders for DC who could create a ten-year plan for the comic book brand as he looked to the success of rival Marvel Studios. At the time, it seemed like an unrealistic goal. But after a months-long search, Zaslav found those leaders, with filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran beginning their tenures Tuesday as of co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios.
“I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months with James and Peter,” Zaslav said Thursday during an investor’s call. “They have a powerful vision and blueprint that will drive a more unified creative approach that will enable us to realize the full value of one of the world’s most iconic franchises.”
The duo now oversee film, TV an animation. They replace Walter Hamada, who departed as DC Films boss last week.
On the earnings call, Zaslav touted a number of DC projects, including an upcoming The Batman sequel starring Robert Pattinson, and Joker: Folie à Deux, which he said films next month. He also highlighted Blue Beetle, giving filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto a shoutout for helming DC’s first film centering on a Latino hero. The new era at DC comes months after Zaslav made the controversial decision to shelve the nearly completed Batgirl in order to take a tax writedown. For a time, there were jitters that Blue Beetle, originally conceived as an HBO Max film before being upgraded to a theatrical release, could be in danger, though sources at the time told The Hollywood Reporter the project was safe.
Zaslav noted on the call that Gunn is the only filmmaker to direct blockbuster movies for both Marvel and DC. He became an A-list director with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and maintains a close relationship with Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige, who Gunn has said was the first person he told after landing the job. Feige himself noted one day after the hiring announcement that they talk nearly every day, and that he would be “first in line” for Gunn’s DC projects.
DC just released Black Adam, which has grossed $254.7 million globally. It also has Shazam! Fury of the Gods (March 17, 2023), The Flash (June 23, 2023), Blue Beetle (Aug. 18, 2023) Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Dec. 25, 2023) and Joker: Folie à Deux (Oct. 4, 2024).
As for Gunn, he still has several Marvel projects in the can to unfurl, including a Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special, due out on Disney+ Nov. 25, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, out in May. Despite those commitments, both Gunn and Safran are now enmeshed in the DC world with a four-year deal.
Said Zaslav: “They are hard at work right now.”
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