Warner Bros. Discovery Finds Heroes for DC in James Gunn, Peter Safran

Gunn and Safran were in charge of projects including HBO's 'Peacemaker' (Image credit: WarnerMedia)

Looking to match the Walt Disney Co.'s successful and lucrative Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. Discovery is putting blockbuster producers James Gunn and Peter Safran in charge of its DC Comics Universe.

Gunn and Safran were named co-chairmen and CEOs of DC Studios, reporting directly to WBD CEO David Zaslav, effective November 1.

Gunn and Safran helped make the Guardians of the Galaxy films for Marvel and the DC films Aquaman, Shazam! and The Suicide Squad and HBO Max's original live action series Peacemaker, based on DC characters.

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Shortly after Discovery got control of DC as part of its acquisition of WarnerMedia, it wrote off a new Batgirl movie and several films for HBO Max, saying in part they weren't up to what should be DC standards.

James Gunn DC Studios

James Gunn (Image credit: Warner Bros. Discovery)

"DC has among the most entertaining, powerful, and iconic characters in the world and I am thrilled to have the singular and complementary talents of James and Peter joining our world-class team and overseeing the creative direction of the storied DC Universe," said Zaslav. "Their decades of experience in filmmaking, close ties to the creative community, and proven track record thrilling superhero fans around the globe 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 and Safran will be working across many different parts of the vast Warner Bros. Discovery enterprise.

The company said that while spearheading the development and execution of a long-term plan for many of the properties licensed from DC Comics and building a sustainable growth business out of the franchise, they will work closely with Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, co-chairpersons and CEOs of Warner Bros. Film Group.

They will also be working collaboratively with Channing Dungey, chairman of the Warner Bros. Television Group, Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and HBO Max Content, Kathleen Flinch, chief content officer of WBD's US Networks Group, Pam Lifford, president of Warner Bros. Discovery Consumer Products and David Haddad, president, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Peter Safran DC Studios

Peter Safran (Image credit: Warner Bros. Discovery)

"We're honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we've loved since we were children. We look forward to collaborating with the most talented writers, directors, and actors in the world to create an integrated, multilayered universe that still allows for the individual expression of the artists involved," Gunn and Safran said in a statement.

"Our commitment to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, and the rest of the DC stable of characters is only equaled by our commitment to the wonder of human possibility these characters represent. We're excited to invigorate the theatrical experience around the world as we tell some of the biggest, most beautiful, and grandest stories ever told. We’re especially enthusiastic about doing all of this with Mike, Pam, Casey, Channing, and the whole Warner Bros. Discovery team, and are grateful to David Zaslav, whose bold vision for the future of the franchise we share and allows for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Most of all, we can’t wait to bring you all into the story of the DCU," they said. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.