- Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav agrees that the demands of the Writers Guild of America union are reasonable. He doesn’t mind overpaying for deserving workers.
- Zaslav plans to boost the popularity of Warner Bros. franchises like Harry Potter, DC, and Lord of the Rings by utilizing their underused content and creating a real plan around them.
- However, Zaslav’s expansion plans may face obstacles as there is a potential congressional investigation into the shelving of finished movies like Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt for insurance money. Blue Beetle is currently streaming on MAX.
In a profile published by The New York Times Magazine, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav conceded that the demands of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) union were reasonable.
While concluding in September, the union initially went on strike earlier this year in May due to low residual payments against the major movie studios represented by the AMPTP. The WGA was soon joined on strike by their sister union for actors, the SAG-AFTRA, which recently achieved a historic deal.
Zaslav stated that he commends the union’s demands and does not mind if his company “overpays” the workers for what they actually deserve.
They are right about almost everything. So what if we overpay? I’ve never regretted overpaying for great talent or a great asset.
During the 148-day strike, CEOs such as Zaslav and Disney’s Bob Iger were heavily scrutinized for their controversial comments about the strikes. Specifically, Zaslav stated that the strike would end because the writers have “a love for the business and the love for working” rather than WGA members achieving a fair wage. His comments angered many WGA members because it seemed as if Zaslav, who made a total of $276 million last year, was dismissive of their demands.
Another past controversy under Zaslav’s leadership during the strike was the alleged “oversight” on the MAX streaming platform in which the names of DGA and striking WGA members were consolidated under a generic “creatives” list under television shows and films.
What Does the Future of Warner Bros. Discovery Look Like?
While Zaslav attempts to boost his popularity among industry workers and the public, the CEO plans to expand popular Warner Bros franchise IPs like Harry Potter, DC, and Lord of the Rings.
At a presentation earlier this year in September, the CEO stated that he feels more content could be utilized from those properties.
One of the other real strengths of Warner Bros. is we talk about the great IP that Warner Bros. owns. But, for us, the challenge is that our content, our great IP — Harry Potter, DC, Lord of the Rings — that content has been underused. We think there’s a lot of shareholder value in attaching a 10-year DC — a real plan around DC, bringing Harry Potter back to HBO for 10 consecutive years, doing multiple movies of Lord of the Rings. When you put those franchises in, it’s the best performing studio in the world. We need to deploy our best capital, and we need to do it with the best creative people in the world.
However, Zaslav’s ambition to expand may be hindered by a potential congressional investigation into the unprecedented pattern of shelving finished and unreleased movies like Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt for insurance money.
Warner Bros Disovery’s latest franchise project, Blue Beetle, is currently streaming on MAX.