Producer Dan Lin attends the premiere of Warner Bros. The LEGO Batman Movie Pictures at the Regency Village Theater on February 4, 2017 in Westwood, California.
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Film producer Dan Lin, who had been in talks to become head of Warner Bros. Ultimately, Discovery’s DC Comics film and television unit will not take on the assignment, according to people familiar with the matter.
Both sides ended negotiations without reaching an agreement.
The news comes during a tumultuous time for the newly formed Warner Bros. The discovery. CEO David Zaslav has been trying to remake WarnerMedia after merging it with Discovery in April, including layoffs and eliminating content from streaming service HBO Max. Shares are down about 50% since the merger closed.
After discussing a possible offer from Warner Bros., Lin has decided to stay at Rideback, the film and television company he founded and runs, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks were private. He has produced films such as The Lego Movie and the two-part big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It.
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment. Lin could not immediately be reached for comment.
The 49-year-old film producer was the favorite to take the role, with expectations that Lin would report directly to Zaslav and bypass division heads at HBO and HBO Max, Warner Bros. TV and Warner Bros. photos. Contract negotiations were complicated by Lin’s ownership of Rideback and how Warner Bros. The disclosure would make up for it, two of the people said.
The two sides exchanged term sheets, and Lin wanted to keep Rideback operational with an equity stake owned by WBD, one of the people said. Both sides decided to move forward after negotiations stalled, one of the people said.
Zaslav has been looking for someone to steer the ship at the DC film division, home of superheroes like Wonder Woman and Superman, as Warner Bros. Discovery aims to capture the kind of sustained success enjoyed by Disney’s Marvel Studios.
Warner Bros. recently moved its “Aquaman” sequel, which was set for release in March 2023, to December 2023. “The Flash,” also set for release next year, is under a cloud of controversy because of the star his, Ezra Miller, who faces several charges, including child custody. Zaslav pulled “Batgirl” almost entirely from HBO Max’s release slate, allowing the company to get a tax write-off.
In April it was reported that Zaslav approached Emma Watts, a former top film executive at 20th Century Studios and Paramount, about taking on the mantle, but that Watts did not take the job. Warner Bros. Discovery is talking to several other candidates for the job, one of the people said. Zaslav met personally with Lin in his effort to convince her to take the job, another person said.
Zaslav has recently discussed his desire to build a “long-term, much stronger, sustainable growth business out of DC” that focuses on quality. The executive is eyeing a reset of the DC Cinematic Universe that would create a 10-year plan for the franchise.
Zaslav tapped Hollywood producer Alan Horn in July to act as a consultant to help the CEO navigate the movie business. Horn, a respected and veteran Disney executive, was with the Walt Disney Company when it began shaping its Marvel Cinematic Universe and the relaunch of the Star Wars film franchise.
He also helped bring the Hobbit films to the big screen, as well as the eight-film Harry Potter franchise and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.