Warner Bros. Discovery hopes an unexpected Dynamic Duo helps right the DC ship.
As we explained recently, the company now known as Warner Bros. Discovery has had a DC problem for a while now.
To summarize, Warner (WBD) – Get Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. Report has long been making films based on characters from DC Comics, and in the ’00s, it had a mixed bag. The Christopher Nolan Batman films were acclaimed blockbusters, and “The Dark Knight” is still often called the best superhero film of all time, while the attempted revamp “Superman Returns,” was greeted with shrugs, and many people forget the Ryan Reynolds “Green Lantern” film even happened.
After’s Disney’s (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report Marvel Cinematic Universe began conquering all of popular culture, Warner Bros. had no choice but to step up its efforts to compete. But the results have always been uneven. Zack Snyder’s “Man Of Steel” has its defenders, but its follow-up “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” was critically derided and was a box-office under performer.
Snyder left “Justice League” during filming because of a family tragedy, and the once celebrated director Joss Whedon was brought in to replace him. The film failed to replicate the success of Whedon’s “Avengers” films for Marvel, and when reports later surfaced that Whedon had allegedly been inappropriate and abusive towards the cast (as well as many of his past artistic collaborators), and now departed executive Walter Hamada had, according to “League” actor Ray Fisher, allowed the abuse, DC essentially went into protection mode.
Fans and off-the-record creatives have long complained that, even though DC has made good films both in the main universe (“Wonder Woman,” “Aquaman”) and in films not connected to the main storytelling universe (“The Batman,’ “Joker”) there’s no real sense of direction from DC, and nothing feels cohesive.
Once Warner Bros. Discovery’s new boss David Zaslav assumed the role following the two company’s merger, and after Hamada announced his imminent departure, the search was on for DC to find its Kevin Feige, aka the executive slash creative that will oversee the entire cinematic universe, and will make sure it feels cohesive, for once.
And now, it seems as though Warner Bros. Discovery co-chair Michael De Luca may have found his man. Or men, really.
Who Has Warner Bros. Discovery Hired To Run DC?
The DC Comics Extended Universe had an overall good October. While critics didn’t exactly love “Black Adam,” the film, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, still opened strong at the box office with $140 million, and a post-credit scene (which we won’t spoil because we’re not rude) reintroduced a character and actor fans have been asking for.
But now, Warner Bros. Discovery has announced who will be in charge of DC, and it’s a choice that could very well make fans very happy.
Director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran have been chosen to lead DC’s film, TV and animation efforts as co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, which is a newly formed division at Warner Bros. Discovery that will replace DC Films.
It is said that Gunn will focus on the creative side, and Safran will focus on the business and production aspects of things. “Both are expected to continue to direct and produce projects, respectively,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The goal is for them not just to be producers, but to truly function as executives even as Gunn will occasionally hone a movie.”
“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 in a statement.
“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.”
Is This The Turnaround DC Needs?
Several names have been rumored for the position of “DC’s Feige,” and while Gunn’s name had been brought up, it’s still a bit of a surprise, though it might make total sense.
Safran started as a manager, and served as a producer on the DC films “Aquaman” and “Shazam!,” as well as the “Conjuring” horror franchise.
Gunn has long had ties to the superhero world, as he parlayed the cult-success of his indie superhero spoof “Super,” into helming Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, before moving to DC for the reboot “The Suicide Squad” and its John Cena-starring spinoff “Peacemaker.” He also recently cameoed as himself in the DC cartoon “Harley Quinn.”
“We’re honored to be the stewards of these DC characters we’ve loved since we were children,” Gunn and Safran said in a statement. “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. 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.”