Advertisement

James Gunn Named Co-Head of DC Studios with Peter Safran

Advertisement
james gunn dc studios peter safron co-charimen chief executive officer
James Gunn, photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

    DC Studios’ long search for a creative leader has come to an end, as James Gunn, the quippy filmmaker behind Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and DC’s The Suicide Squad, has been tapped as co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

    He’ll divide responsibilities with Peter Safran, a longtime talent manager turned producer who not only worked on DC films such as Aquaman and Shazam!, but also helped build up the Conjuring universe. He also produced Gunn’s DC Extended Universe projects in The Suicide Squad and its Peacemaker HBO Max spinoff, and is working on the Aquaman and Shazam! sequels in addition to Blue Beetle.

    The Hollywood Reporter notes that Gunn will focus on the creative side of things and Safran will head up the business and production elements. Both will still direct and produce individual projects as well.

    Advertisement

    Gunn and Safron said in a joint statement,

    “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. 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.”

    Their hirings come after Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav made moves — including shelving the nearly finished Batgirl movie for a tax write-off — that led to the departure of Walter Hamada, who had led what was previously called DC Films over the last four years. Since the WB/Discovery merger, Warner Bros. film co-chairs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy have been working on bringing DCEU projects like the troubled The Flash movie and the sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom over the finish line. Gunn and Safran officially start work on November 1st, so it’s unclear how much input they’ll have on those features.

    Also unknown is what influence the pair will have over Matt Reeves corner of the DCEU spinning out of The Batman, though they reportedly won’t have oversight on Todd Phillips’ upcoming Joker sequel.

    Advertisement

    In his own statement, Zaslav said,

    “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. 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’s next two projects are both at Marvel, with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (the trailer for which dropped just hours before the DC news came out) hitting Disney+ November 25th, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 out May 5th. Gunn had previously said it would be the last standalone film with these characters, and the DC Studios deal seems to shut the door on any future MCU contributions.

    Instead, he and Safran will be tasked with growing the DCEU in much the same way Kevin Feige has expanded the MCU. Gunn has already planted some of those seeds thanks to the success of The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, and he’ll have a cornerstone character to work with now that both Black Adam and Henry Cavill have confirmed that Superman is coming back.

    Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement