After the WBD merger placed David Zaslav in charge, the newly-placed CEO quickly began the search for his answer to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige to lead the DC franchise moving forward. After all, it was clear things weren't working out under former DC Films President Walter Hamada.
Having gone through plenty of candidates, that hunt finally came to a head with the appointment of The Suicide Squad director James Gunn and Shazam producer Peter Safran to serve as co-CEOs of the newly-founded DC Studios and develop a project slate with a sense of cohesion moving forward.
In the three months since their appointment, the duo has developed a slate of projects for the new DCU that has since been revealed in a huge marketing push. This campaign has come with plenty of interesting comments from Gunn and Safran, some of which seem to be frustrating certain high-ups at WBD.
DC Studios CEOs Allegedly Frustrating Warner Bros.
According to The Hollywood Reporter's (THR) latest newsletter, DC Studios CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran have reportedly managed to ruffle some feathers with certain Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) executives due to their recent comments about the old DC regime.
The newsletter points out that among the slew of comments Gunn and Safran have already made about the previous management of the DC universe, some were "not exactly tactful." The report stated that some of those from the old regime are still now in charge at WBD and "there have been quite a few ruffled feathers."
The DC Studios duo are described by THR as "moviemakers" and "not corporate." Unlike other executives who "either toe the company line, express generic and genial statements, or retweet praise," Gunn has been doing things his way by swatting down Twitter rumors and even holding fun polls for fans.
Speaking to journalists at the private DCU slate reveal event, Gunn criticized DC's past as "pretty messed up" and noted how Warner Bros. was "giving away IP like they were party favors:"
"The history of DC is pretty messed up. No one was minding the mint. They were just giving away IP like they were party favors to any creators who smiled at them. What we are going to do is promise that everything from our first project going forward is going to be unified."
A second comment - that may or may not refer to DC's past - zoned in on his intent to avoid "putting hundreds of millions of dollars into a film where a screenplay is only two-thirds of the way done:"
"We’re not going to be making movies and putting hundreds of millions of dollars into a film where a screenplay is only two-thirds of the way done and we have to finish it while we’re making the movie. I’ve seen it happen again and again, and it’s a mess. And I think it’s the primary reason in the deterioration of quality of films today versus 20-30 years ago."
Are Gunn & Safran's DC Jobs at Any Risk?
The search for the DC head honcho was one that lasted for a long time, with Zaslav reportedly approaching, Arrowverse boss Greg Berlanti, The Lego Movie producer Dan Lin, and even Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige for the top job. And yet, for various reasons, WBD never managed to reach a deal with anybody.
So far, after a long search for both an effective choice and one that would satisfy that fandom, things seem to be working out under Gunn and Safran. The reactions to the slate were largely positive, fans seem to be enjoying Gunn's more transparent approach, and excitement for DC seems the highest it's been in years.
Although David Zaslav was quick to axe a number of WBD executives on his arrival, many still remain, some of which will undoubtedly be bitter after the firing of their former colleagues. So, it's not surprising that Gunn and Safran's criticism of their years of past work to get DC off the ground would lead to some resentment.
That being said, they aren't the only ones who have been critical of the old regime as Zaslav himself said back in November that they have "an awful lot to do, and an awful lot to undo" at WBD as a whole. With the CEO firmly in agreement with Gunn and Safran, they will undoubtedly be safe.
Granted, these comments against certain executives would not be at all firable offenses by any means, but rather just negative for their future working relationships. But either way, after how long it took to find DC Studios' CEOs and develop this masterplan, the duo may be WBD's hottest commodity at the moment.
It's hard to disagree with the pair's criticism of the past DC management, after all, fans have been doing the same for years. Despite housing the biggest household names on the planet, the old regime failed to generate box office results, positive reception, or properly create a cohesive universe after years of efforts.
In general, whether it frustrates certain WBD executives or not, admitting the mistakes of the past was perhaps the most important step DC Studios needed to take. This will help to rebuild the trust of fans and create a sense of why things will be different this time around after years of disappointment.