‘Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans Inks Multi- Year Deal With Discovery

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Multiple individuals close to the matter told Variety that the new owners of all things Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are considering a revamp of DC Entertainment.

It’s been less than a week since Discovery completed its $43 billion acquisition of WarnerMedia, combining one of the most venerable entertainment companies with one of the largest creators of reality television under the new banner of Warner Bros. Discovery. According to the sources, David Zaslav, the combined firms’ CEO, and top leadership have been playing with the concept of converting DC into its own distinct content vertical.

The shift might have an impact on DC feature picture development at Warner Bros. Pictures Group, streaming shows at Warner Bros. Television, and the creative arm of DC itself — all in the Warner Bros. Pictures Group. The streaming series at Warner Bros. Television, and the creative arm within DC proper — all in an effort to bring the disparate elements closer together in order to maximize the value of the superhero stable — one that is frequently seen as competing with Marvel.

Zaslav investigated individuals with experience generating and managing blockbuster intellectual property before the deal completed in the hopes of finding someone to act as a creative and strategic czar, comparable to Marvel’s Kevin Feige. Emma Watts, a former top film executive at 20th Century Studios and Paramount, was one of the finalists, but it does not appear that she will accept the role. According to one source, Zaslav was less interested in finding a creative genius and more keen to employ someone with the type of business experience needed to keep all of DC’s various factions working together. According to insiders, Zaslav feels that unleashing the full potential of the DC Comics world of characters will be crucial to the success of the acquisition, which has left the company financially leveraged. Insiders at Discovery say that, despite recent box office successes such as “Aquaman” and “The Batman,” DC lacks a cohesive creative and brand plan. Discovery feels that a number of top-tier characters, including Superman, have languished and need to be resurrected. They also argue that films like Todd Phillips’ “Joker” show how second-billed characters from the DC universe can and should be used (Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is another example).

DC has started thinking about how its theatrical films can inspire more streaming content. Recent examples include the HBO Max show Peacemaker, which was a spin-off of The Suicide Squad, and a planned upcoming series based on Colin Farrell’s The Penguin and the Gotham City Police Department. However, the company believes DC needs to do more to extend its approach to comic book pricing, including investing in games. Walter Hamada, who acquired DC Films from Jon Berg and Geoff Johns in 2018, has enhanced the unit’s consistency in
in terms of critical and commercial response to the company’s films. He is under contract until the end of 2023 and could play a key role at Zaslav.

Zaslav has promised that the newly amalgamated business will discover $3 billion in synergies, indicating how essential cost cutting will be to Warners’ new owners. Insiders claim that because Warner Bros. Discovery owns the underlying intellectual property, mining DC’s library of characters might help reduce spending.

A sequel to Zachary Levi’s “Shazam,” a sequel to Jason Momoa’s “Aquaman,” the long-awaited franchise established by Dwayne Johnson in “Black Adam,” and a third chapter of Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman” are among the next DC Films projects.