Warner Bros Discovery Boss David Zaslav Holds Town Hall With New DC Heads James Gunn & Peter Safran About New Cohesive Universe

EXCLUSIVE: Deadline hears that a global Zoom meeting was held for Warner Bros Discovery employees Thursday morning, on which CEO David Zaslav introduced new DC Studios co-chairmen and CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran. It marked was first appearance together in front of the company since being named to their posts October 25.

The execs expressed their shared excitement for the new structure, with Zaslav mentioning how the plan is to build a bible for a cohesive DC universe, one that is overarching across live-action films, TV, animation, gaming and more.

Safran, fresh in from the production of Nun 2 in Europe, spoke about his love for such DC properties as Aquaman, which is DC’s highest-grossing movie ever at $1.1 billion worldwide. In addition, he said he adored the themes of Shazam.

Gunn spoke about how he loves the interaction of Superman and Batman, and how they’re the same and different at the same time.

While Gunn and Safran didn’t mention anything about new projects, the former said he has a penchant for such DC superheroes as Metal Men and Bat-mite.

Zaslav expressed his excitement to have the duo on board and the great characters they’re bound to spring to life. Gunn acknowledged Zaslav’s admiration for DC and thanked him for the opportunity to lead the brand, we hear.

As previously reported, Gunn and Safran report to Zaslav but also will work closely with Warner Bros Film Group co-chairs and CEOs Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy on such matters as marketing, distribution and capital spend. The duo are also working closely with Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO of HBO and HBO Max Content; as well as Channing Dungey, Chairman, Warner Bros. Television Group; Kathleen Finch, Chairman and Chief Content Officer, US Networks Group; Pam Lifford, President, Warner Bros. Discovery Global Brands and Experiences; and David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Gunn and Safran started the job November 1.

Safran has been behind the highest-grossing horror franchise ever, The Conjuring, which has made more than $2 billion worldwide. In addition to shepherding Aquaman and its Christmas 2023 sequel Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom, he’s done Shazam! and its upcoming March 17 sequel, Shazam: Fury of the Gods (March 17), as well as Blue Beetle (due August 18, 2023). Safran and Gunn worked on the new Suicide Squad in 2021 and its spinoff HBO Max series, The Peacemaker, which is one of HBO Max’s most watched series.

Gunn, who can now only make movies and series for Warner Bros exclusively in his new gig, has a Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special hitting Disney+ soon; it’s a spinoff of his Marvel trilogy, after the first two pics made $1.6 billion. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 hits cinemas on May 5, 2023.

We’ve heard from some sources about confusion on the greenlight power at DC and Warners now: Who has full authority? Warners has been a place that has always greenlit by committee, particularly on the feature side. It’s our understanding that no future DC decisions are made sans Gunn and Safran. Their input is integral and necessary on all future projects so a wide map can be designed across the entire conglom.

That said, if Gunn and Safran don’t want to move forward with a specific DC project, then the project doesn’t happen. We hear that DC Studios has no P&L.

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