James Gunn and Peter Safran named to lead DC Studios

Warner Bros. Discovery has found its leaders for the DC film and television universe.

The company on Tuesday named filmmakers James Gunn and Peter Safran as co-chairs and managing directors of DC Studios, where they will oversee the creative direction of superhero franchise productions across film, television and animation.

They will report directly to David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, who has promised investors a 10-year plan modeled on the successful strategy of Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios.

Gunn and Safran both have experience with DC material.

Gunn directed the 2021 DC feature The Suicide Squad, the irreverent R-rated film about a special team of villains working for a shady government agency. He also created the HBO Max spinoff series Peacemaker, based on a character from The Suicide Squad.

In an unusual situation, Gunn has also directed films for rival Marvel, the hugely successful Guardians of the Galaxy films. Gunn just released a trailer for a Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas special produced for Disney+ on Tuesday.

Safran was a producer on Warner Bros. and New Line’s The Conjuring movies, plus DC episodes Aquaman, Shazam!, and Suicide Squad.

The duo will work with Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, recently named co-chairs and CEOs of Warner Bros. Film Group, who will oversee live-action non-superhero films.

DC has some of the most iconic superheroes – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman – but hasn’t always lived up to its potential, playing an underdog for Disney and Marvel for the past decade.

The most recent release, Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson as the titular antihero, opened up a solid $67 million at the box office in the US and Canada this past weekend and heralded Henry Cavill’s return to the role of Superman.

The announcement ends speculation about who would replace Walter Hamada, who previously oversaw DC superhero films for Burbank studios.

In recent years, DC has produced hits like “Aquaman”, “Shazam”, “Joker” and “The Batman”. Birds of Prey was a disappointment at the box office, and The Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman 1984 were hampered by concurrent releases on HBO Max.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-10-25/james-gunn-and-peter-safran-named-to-lead-dc-studios-for-warner-bros James Gunn and Peter Safran named to lead DC Studios

Sarah Ridley

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