- CEO David Zaslav believes the Writers Guild of America union demands are reasonable and does not mind overpaying workers.
- Zaslav intends to expand the Warner Bros. franchises Harry Potter, DC, and Lord of the Rings by using more content and creating a long-term plan.
- A potential congressional investigation could hinder Zaslav’s expansion plans due to allegations of shelving finished movies for insurance money.
In a profile by The New York Times Magazine, David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, acknowledged the demands of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) union as reasonable.
The union, which initially went on strike in May this year, was protesting low residual payments against major movie studios represented by the AMPTP. WGA was later joined by the SAG-AFTRA union for actors, which secured a historic deal.
Zaslav expressed support for the union’s demands, stating that he would not mind if his company “overpays” its workers for their deserved compensation. “They are right about almost everything. So what if we overpay? I’ve never regretted overpaying for great talent or a great asset,” he said.
During the 148-day strike, executives like Zaslav and Disney’s Bob Iger were criticized for their controversial remarks on the strikes. For example, Zaslav claimed that the strike would end due to the writers’ “love for the business and the love for working” rather than obtaining fair wages. Last year, Zaslav made $276 million, which led to anger among WGA members who felt he was dismissive of their demands.
Another issue during Zaslav’s tenure was an alleged “oversight” on the MAX streaming platform, where names of DGA and striking WGA members were grouped under a general “creatives” list for television shows and films.
Zaslav is currently focused on boosting the popularity of Warner Bros franchises like Harry Potter, DC, and Lord of the Rings. In a September presentation, he expressed the need to fully utilize the content potential from these properties.
However, Zaslav’s expansion ambitions face potential hurdles, such as a congressional investigation into the unusual practice of shelving finished and unreleased movies like Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt for insurance purposes.
Blue Beetle, Warner Bros Discovery’s latest franchise project, is currently streaming on MAX.