Batgirl Scoob David Zaslav Rejection Jason Kilar HBO Max Strategy – Deadline

Why did Warner Bros scrap Bat girl Y Scooby! vacation spot?

Warner Bros’ cancellation of two movies made for HBO Max streaming came as a shock to the city. There are several threads here, but the move amounts to an emphatic rejection of former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar’s strategy of making $70 million live-action and animated original films directly for streaming site HBO Max.

The creators of live action. Bat girl and the animated Scooby! I learned today that those films were being stopped in their tracks. The moment was particularly awkward for Bat girl co-directors Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah. Both are in Morocco for El Arbi’s wedding —some wedding gift— and they hoped to return to the editing room and continue working on the film starring Leslie Grace, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser and Michael Keaton.

There were initial cries that the scrapping of Bat girl it had bad optics because the main role is played by a Latin actress. But there were reasons for the move. In both cases, the filmmakers were told that this was a “purchase accounting” maneuver available to Warner Discovery because the company changed hands and also changed the strategy of the previous regime. This opportunity expires in mid-August, sources said, and allows Warner Bros. Discovery to not have to carry losses on its books at a time when the studio is trying to reduce $3 billion in debt across all of its divisions. .

There has been much speculation as to why Bat girl was cancelled, having to do with it being a bad movie. Sources said the film was tested once and the result wasn’t too bad, considering the cut had temporary visual effects that tend to temper audience enthusiasm in scores. The studio is already discussing different deals with the directors and miss bullet star Grace, because this was not a reflection of her talent so much as the radical change in strategy. It was a difficult decision for everyone and very unusual to simply write off a movie that cost between $60 million and $70 million, made by the hot directors who directed Black and the Disney+ series mrs wonder under Kevin Feige, as well as the $426 million-plus pre-pandemic blockbuster bad boys for life .

Much of the decision boiled down to this: Warner Bros Discovery boss David Zaslav rejected Kilar’s strategy of leaning heavily on creating streaming subscriptions for HBO Max. That was punctuated by his Project Popcorn initiative that put the entire 2021 theatrical slate, including Dune, Godzilla Vs Kong, King Richard, Matrix 4 — day and date in theaters and on HBO Max when theater attendance was low during the pandemic. Even after being shown the door, Kilar continued to call the strategy a victory. Many disagreed, particularly after Top Gun: Maverick waited and raised over $1.3 billion. It’s a decidedly different world from when Kilar made the switch. Wall Street is no longer as impressed by the number of subscribers as by profits, as evidenced by the precipitous drop in the value of Netflix shares.

The companies have moved closer to the philosophies espoused by Sony’s Tom Rothman and Universal’s Donna Langley, that movies become culturally relevant when they first debut in theaters at appreciable theatrical spend. When they appear on streaming sites approximately 45 days later, they are appreciated because they are culturally relevant. That will be the strategy Apple will employ next year with the Leonardo DiCaprio-Robert De Niro drama directed by Martin Scorsese. Moonflower Assassinswhich has been pulled from 2022 and, as Deadline revealed, is likely to debut in 2023 at Cannes before a full theatrical release via Paramount.

Back Bat girl Y Scooby! Bat girl it’s a gritty entry, nowhere near the budgets of DC theaters The flash Y aquaman 2 – and it wasn’t designed to compete with tent pole theatrical releases, and it wasn’t for that matter Scooby! Also, there were character introductions in that movie that the studio wanted to reserve for those DC theatrical titles. Instead of spending large sums of money increasing the budgets of each film to compete in the theatrical market and then spending $80 million in global profit and loss, the studio felt that scrapping both films was a better option, along with the maneuver of purchase accounting.

Sources don’t expect other movies to die like this, because the accounting opportunity expires in the middle of this month. But as Warner Bros Discovery prepares for Thursday’s quarterly earnings report and the layoffs that are sure to come, no one with a project made specifically for HBO Max or executives there can feel safe right now.

Warner Bros Discovery has just released this statement: “The decision not to release Bat girl it reflects the strategic change of our leadership in relation to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actress and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Bat girl Y Scooby! vacation spot and their respective casts, and we look forward to collaborating with everyone again in the near future.”

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