Warner Bros. Discovery Gives David Zaslav More Millions For Killing Movies

By Britta DeVore | Published

warner bros discovery david zaslav
David Zaslav

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is back in the headlines, this time for a bump in salary that he saw at the wrap of the 2023 fiscal year. Depositing an amount of cash into the bank that many of us could never imagine seeing in our lifetimes, the head of WB made a whopping $49.7 million which is more than $10 million up from last year’s sum. The huge shift was largely in part due to the move that the company made over the last year to set its sights more on cash flow for its executive compensation plan rather than stock price.

Zaslav Made Bank In Spite Of The Strike

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This was a chess-like move on the side of Warner Bros. Discovery as the entertainment industry faced hurdles and challenges in 2023 due to the historic writers’ and actors’ strikes which, for a brief period of time, overlapped one another. Because of this, many sets throughout Tinsel Town were shut down, with David Zaslav and others at the top of the chain making adjustments that would ensure their paychecks wouldn’t be any worse for the wear. The breakdown of the CEO’s 2023 pay looks like this – on top of his $3 million salary, he also cashed in $23 million in stock awards, $22 million in non-equity incentive compensation, and $1.6 million in other compensation.

The Purge From Max

Since 2022, David Zaslav has been in charge of keeping Warner Bros. Discovery afloat, following the two companies announcing their plans to merge in April of that year. Zaslav has found himself as the target of a handful of accusations that put the studio in the hot seat for cutting productions for tax purposes. The first noticeable change that was spotted by followers was the removal of a handful of titles from Max to make way for Discovery’s catalog of content to have a new home. 


david zaslav leslie grace batgirl directors feature

After this, the first feature-length project received the axe, that being the highly-anticipated DC feature, Batgirl. The rumor mill was churning double-time during those days, with word spreading that David Zaslav and the rest of the execs over at Warner Bros. Discovery had trashed the production (which was at first reported to have already been completed) to put money back into the studio via tax breaks.

The Batgirl That Could Have Been

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The film would have starred names like Leslie Grace and Brendan Fraser with Michael Keaton returning to his role as Batman for the first time in decades – something audiences were fortunate enough to catch the following year in The Flash.

Coyote Vs. Acme

Since that summer, David Zaslav has been under the microscope of audiences and fellow business people alike as many have been wondering what could get scrapped next. The question was answered late last year when Warner Bros. Discovery shelved the completed live-action/animated hybrid film, Coyote vs. Acme to get their hands on a $30 million tax break. The movie, which starred Will Forte, John Cena, and others, was allowed to shop around to other buyers after public outcry pushed for its release.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter