James Gunn, Peter Safran Named Head Of DC Studios

Will be responsible for the overall creative direction of the storied superhero franchise across film, TV, and animation under new unified banner.

Will be responsible for the overall creative direction of the storied superhero franchise across film, TV, and animation under new unified banner.

James Gunn, Peter Safran Head Of DC Studios

In a shocker, James Gunn and producer Peter Safran have been named the co-Chairmen and CEOs of DC films, TV, and animation divisions.

Gunn confirmed on Twitter, “Accurate. So pleased to be here. #DC.”

James Gunn and Peter Safran will serve as the new head of DC overseeing the films, TV, and animation divisions under one single banner, DC Studios, under Warner Bros. Discovery, said to be a four-year deal.

DC Studios is a newly formed division at Warner Bros. that will replace DC Films.

The pair will directly answer to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and will have close correspondence with Warner Bros Film Group Co-Chairs and CEOs Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy who was also recently named by Zaslav in charge of Warner Bros. Pictures.

The positions are effective November 1st.

The official press release describes the roles as:

Industry veterans James Gunn and Peter Safran have been appointed to the new roles of Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of DC Studios, overseeing the overall creative direction of the DC Universe across film, TV, and animation under a single banner. Gunn and Safran will report to David Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Discovery, and will work closely with Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, Co-Chairpersons and CEOs of Warner Bros. Film Group. The appointments will be effective on November 1. 

In their new roles, Gunn and Safran will spearhead the development and execution of a long-term plan for the many properties licensed from DC Comics, focused on continuing the tradition of high-quality storytelling for the DC Universe across audio-visual media, while building a sustainable growth business out of the iconic franchise. In addition to their executive responsibilities, Gunn and Safran will develop, direct, and produce projects. In their new roles, they will also work collaboratively with Channing Dungey, Chairman, Warner Bros. Television Group; Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO, HBO and HBO Max Content; Kathleen Finch, Chairman and Chief Content Officer, US Networks Group; Pam Lifford, President, Warner Bros. Discovery Consumer Products; and David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

THR adds that James Gunn will focus on the creative side of DC Studios and that Peter Safran will focus on the business and production side of things.

It’s also noted both are expected to continue to produce new projects for DC, but THR adds that Gunn’s likely done at Marvel.

It’s also said Todd Phillips’ Joker movies will fall under De Luca and Abdy and that it’s presently unclear where Matt Reeves’ The Batman projects will fall under, but it is said everything DC moving forward will be under Gunn and Safran.

Recently saw Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam released as the #1 movie with the news Henry Cavill is back as Superman.

James Gunn directed The Suicide Squad and created the Peacemaker HBO Max series; Peter Safran produced The Conjuring movies at WB, Aquaman, Shazam!, Gunn’s DC projects, Shazam 2, Aquaman 2, and Safran and Gunn have had a relationship for a long time as Safran also produced Gunn’s PG P-rn parody series back in 2008.

Recall how back at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con insiders first filled me in that James Gunn would be returning to DC following Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

I was also told WB loved Gunn, so we see it all came together.

James Gunn and Margot Robbie on the set of The Suicide Squad
James Gunn and Margot Robbie on the set of ‘The Suicide Squad’

David Zaslav, James Gunn, Peter Safran, Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy comment

Zaslav commented in a statement: “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 and Safran also commented: “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. 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.” 

De Luca and Abdy said in a statement: “We could not be more excited to have James Gunn and Peter Safran join the team and assume the leadership of the DC Universe. James is a brilliant filmmaker and storyteller and Peter is a tremendously successful and prolific producer and to have them both committing to work together to forge this new era for DC is a literal dream come true. We all share a very similar sensibility and passion for this universe and the stars couldn’t have aligned any better. We can’t wait to get started, dig in, and collaborate with these unmatched creative minds.”  

James Gunn
James Gunn

David Zaslav’s memo to staff about James Gunn and Peter Safran

Zaslav sent a memo to the WBD staff about the news:


We are thrilled to announce that two of the industry’s most talented and experienced filmmakers, James Gunn and Peter Safran, will be joining our team on November 1 in the new roles of Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of DC Studios, overseeing the overall creative direction of the DC Universe across film, TV, and animation. As we make this transition to unify the creative expression of DC under a single banner, we are grateful to Walter Hamada for his many contributions to both DC and New Line over the years.

I’ve spent the last few months talking in-depth with James and Peter about the future of the DC Universe and am more excited than ever about where the franchise is headed with them at the helm. They will report to me and will work closely with Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy as well as our other creative business executives, Channing Dungey, Casey Bloys, Kathleen Finch, Pam Lifford, and David Haddad. We now have the full leadership team in place… and the team is experienced and strong.

One of the great strengths of our company is our unmatched collection of IP that includes many of the most beloved superheroes of all time… Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and now Black Adam, to name just a few. For over 60 years, these and other DC characters have captivated and inspired generations of fans around the world… and as stewards of the iconic franchise, we feel a real responsibility to preserve and expand the DCU for the enjoyment of future generations. In many ways, we have only begun to scratch the surface. James and Peter have a broad vision for DC storytelling and how it all fits together, and they plan to create even more compelling and unforgettable experiences for DC fans worldwide, while building a sustainable growth business out of the iconic franchise.

James and Peter have extensive experience in the superhero genre having brought some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Universe’s most popular characters to life in hit films and series, including: Marvel’s blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, and DC’s highest grossing movie, AquamanShazam!The Suicide Squad, and the spin-off series for HBO Max, Peacemaker. They are highly respected by creatives and talent alike and bring their own deep love and appreciation for the characters and stories of the DCU to their new roles. As they told me, this is a passion project for them, not just a job… and that is sure to be evident in their storytelling.

When James was 10 years old, growing up in Missouri, he went to a comic book convention with his dad and that experience, he said, changed his life forever. He would escape into his own world with comic books, and he began to draw and write his own comics and started making movies when he was just 11 years old. That set him off on his creative journey as a filmmaker and storyteller. His experience also demonstrates the real power of these characters to inspire audiences of all ages.

Peter has worked extensively in both the horror and superhero genres and has produced several hit movies and series for Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line, including the entire Conjuring universe, which is the most successful horror franchise of all time at $2B+ in worldwide box office and counting. He and James have collaborated on numerous projects over the years and have a close working relationship. In fact, they told me one of the things that appealed most to them about this opportunity was the chance to lead DC Studios together.

We could not ask for a better team to run DC and are so excited to welcome them to WBD next week. Please join me in wishing James and Peter much success!


(Via Deadline and THR)

About The Author