James Gunn confirms DC Studios is separate from Warner Bros. Pictures

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 02: James Gunn attends the Warner Bros. premiere of "The Suicide Squad" at Regency Village Theatre on August 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 02: James Gunn attends the Warner Bros. premiere of "The Suicide Squad" at Regency Village Theatre on August 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) /

The creative co-lead and co-chairman of DC Studios have confirmed the entertainment studio is separate from Warner Bros. Pictures Group…

As per CBR via the social news aggregate website, Reddit, the co-chairman and co-CEO of DC Studios, James Gunn, responded to a follower on Twitter about whether the newly rebranded media company will experience studio interference from Warner Bros. Pictures. Gunn’s tweet was shared by a Reddit user.

Gunn confirmed this will no longer be the case stating: “DC is separate from Warner Brothers as of a couple of months ago.” The newly-appointed studio executive went further as to criticize Warner Bros. and their partnership with DC as being akin to passing out “favors” to their subsection of the parent company Warner Bros. Discovery. He promised things will be different within DC Studios.

Warner Bros. history with DC Comics Inc.

Warner once known as Warner Communications during the early 70s, Time Warner during the 90s and at the turn of the new millennium, and before the merger with Discovery Inc. that was completed in April 2022, known as WarnerMedia has a long and chequered history with DC dating back to the late 60s when the publisher was formerly National Comics Publications (NCP). During the National era, DC licensed their characters Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman and purchased Shazam (Fawcett Comics) and Plastic Man (Quality Comics) to other film studios for advertising serials and shorts.

In 1967, the Kinney National Company (later Warner Communications) bought NCP and Warner Bros.-Seven Arts in 1969. Therefore all film and television distribution went to Warner Bros. Even though NCP was informally known as DC Comics since the 50s due to the publisher using the brand “Superman-DC” they did not officially rebrand as the aforesaid name until 1977 so the name stuck. In 1989, all of DC’s publishing assets were shuffled over to Warner Bros. film and TV studios.

Despite the success of both Richard Donner’s Superman and Tim Burton’s Batman including many adaptations of said characters across various media over the years that are not limited to live-action and animated series, the studio commissioned some creative teams of writers, producers, and filmmakers on other characters from existing I.P. Warner Bros. owned to limited to mediocre results. The only characters other than Supes and The Bat that were adapted to live-action on the small screen were Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman (1975) and John Wesley Shipp’s The Flash (1990) which only lasted a single season.

Warner Bros. DCEU and formation of DC Films…

Since 2002, plans were always made to establish the characters of Batman and Superman in the same world and existence in addition to eventually meeting on the big screen. The Dark Knight Trilogy was launched with Batman Begins in 2005, but Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns in 2006 underperformed at the box office.

Attempts were made to reboot the franchise, following the disappointing results of 2011’s Green Lantern, the Superman reboot Man of Steel which Warner Bros. had developed since 2008 became the framework of a shared universe known unofficially as the (DCEU) DC Extended Universe launched in 2013.

Then in 2016, after the divisive reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment formed a subdivision, DC Films, with Geoff Johns and Jon Berg heading up the company. The rest as they say is history.

How different will James Gunn’s DC Studios be?

Since 2016, Warner Bros. has been going through several regime changes, the most recent one that led to the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. and the exit of AT&T from the entertainment business. Gunn and fellow co-chairman and co-CEO, Peter Safran, replaced the President of DC Films, Walter Hamada, who succeeded both Johns and Berg back in 2018. Gunn and Safran would begin their operations on Nov. 1, 2022. Gunn stated Warner Bros. and DC’s approach to be “pretty ****** up.” He claimed:

"“They were just giving away I.P. like they were party favors to any creators. What we are going to do is we’re going to promise that everything from our first project is going to be unified. But we will say that we’ve gotten very lucky [inheriting these] next four projects.”"

Unlike DC Films, the rebranded DC Studios and the soft reboot of the franchise that is the DCU that will come after Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom with its first big screen project being Superman: Legacy on July 11, 2025, and its animated series Creature Commandos will have the studio focused on DC-related properties still a subsidiary under WBD led by CEO David Zaslav which Gunn and Safran will report to, but is a vertical like Warner Bros. Pictures Group led by CEOs Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy where are before it only existed within Warner Bros.

Therefore, DC Studios will run parallel to the aforementioned studios under WBD but as a separate entity under the company’s roster with the same rank and power like Warner Bros. Television Group which is run by Channing Dungey, and HBO and HBO Max’s CEO Casey Bloys. The hope is that Gunn and Safran will be able to lead and take charge and commit to their slate of films and series.

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What do you think of James Gunn confirming that DC Studios is separate from Warner Bros. Pictures Group? Do you feel confident with him and Peter Safran involved? Are you pleased that more priority is given to these DC-related projects? Sound off in the comments!