Veteran producer Michael De Luca and his partner Pamela Abdy are in talks to join Warner Bros. Discovery as film executives, multiple insiders familiar with the situation told Variety.
Scenarios being discussed include having De Luca and Abdy launch a movie label within the Warner Bros. Pictures group, or enlisting them to take roles within that division itself. A key negotiating point to securing the pair would be allowing them access to DC Entertainment in some capacity, as producers with rights to develop characters and properties, two sources added. Maximizing DC’s output is a top priority for Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Variety previously reported, and achieving that does not exclude a creative and management overhaul.
As Zaslav takes control of the media conglomerate, he’s looking at ways to reconfigure or reimagine its film division. That may include restructuring the department in a manner that mirrors what the Walt Disney Company has achieved. Disney has several brands such as Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm developing and producing content, something that Zaslav would like to pull off.
Warner Bros. Discovery is one of several companies kicking the tires on a deal with De Luca and Abdy, another insider said, noting that timing is a factor after the two abruptly resigned as the heads of MGM’s film division last month. People familiar with the matter said this was done so they could enter discussions with Warner Bros. Discovery and other suitors. It is unclear how they would fit into the current leadership structure at Warner Bros., a pyramid topped by longtime film executive Toby Emmerich, should they reach an agreement.
Zaslav has met with several candidates as he looks to strengthen his team, including former Fox and Paramount executive Emma Watts, who discussed taking a role with DC.
De Luca has agreed to help MGM’s new owner Amazon during the transition period and is expected to be involved with the company through the summer. It’s unknown if he has any kind of non-compete language in his contract, but sources said any new contract will not be finalized until De Luca and Abdy are officially off of Amazon’s books. Their resignation surprised many at Amazon, Variety previously reported. This includes MGM’s television chief Mark Burnett — whose desire to remain at tech giant is very much up in the air, according to an a knowledgable individual.
De Luca has the kind of deep connections to talent that could make him an invaluable addition to the Warner Bros. team. As a producer, he’s been involved with Oscar-nominated films such as “The Social Network” and “Captain Phillips,” and as a studio executive he helped launch the careers of filmmakers such as David Fincher and Paul Thomas Anderson. If he doesn’t make the move to Warner Bros., De Luca could find himself at a streaming service or could launch his own company.
If he does come aboard, De Luca would likely report directly to Zaslav, according to one insider. While the duo have released large tentpole films like Daniel Craig’s final James Bond adventure, “No Time to Die,” they’re much more accustomed to the mid-budget movie for adults, such as “House of Gucci,” one of the rare dramas to put up respectable box office results. It’s precisely the kind of movie that Warner Bros. has made for decades, winning critical acclaim and achieving commercial success with everything from “Argo” to “Unforgiven.” But those are also the same types of movies that are an increasingly endangered species in movie theaters — films that have instead found a new life on streaming.
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment. De Luca did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Source: Read Full Article