Despite almost complete production processes, the films Batgirl et SCOOB! Holiday Haunt were canceled by the new entity Warner-Discovery. A strange strategy, since it induces a net loss of 130 million dollars.
Since the takeover of Warner by Discovery, the buyer has not finished tightening the belt of its acquisition. In recent weeks, we have learned in particular that the deployment strategy of HBO Max, owned by Warner Bros., has been frozen. A decision that particularly concerns France, where the platform will not ultimately arrive. But the productions launched by the American studio for its SVoD service are not immune either.
An incomprehensible beat-cancellation
Edifying proof has just been given, since two large-scale projects have been purely and simply abandoned by the new Warner-Discovery entity. After two years of production, the film Batgirl was supposed to land on HBO Max and in some theaters at the end of the year. Despite a budget of 90 million dollars and a development process in the final phase, the feature film will probably never be released. Blame it on disappointing test screenings, but also on a change in strategy from the new boss of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav.
According The Wrap, the latter and the other directors of the studio would like to rediscover the event side of films from the DC team by producing only large-scale feature films reserved for dark rooms. A strategy reminiscent of the one launched several years ago by Warner with the DC Extended Universe, during the Marvel Cinematic Universe which had come to a halt after the failures, with critics and/or the public, of some of its opus as Suicide Squad or Justice League.
Batgirl, with its relatively modest budget, clearly did not fit this box. We will therefore never see Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon, while the film also counted on the presence of Brendan Fraser as the villain, on the return of JK Simmons as Commissioner Gordon and especially on that of Michael Keaton as the aging Batman.
The Mystery Machine hits a wall
Another hero is also missing out: Scooby-Doo. 40 million dollars had already been injected into the production of SCOOB! Holiday Haunta sequel to the animated film Scoob!, out in 2021, also slated for HBO Max. He too was almost finished.
As explained Variety, this double decision is an earthquake in Hollywood. Usually, a film that is almost finished sees the light of day even in the event of a problem because it allows at least a return on investment, even if it is minimal. This is for example the choice that Disney made on the film The New Mutants, recovered in a sorry state after the takeover of Fox. The film Flash, plagued by production delays and the escapades of its star Ezra Miller, could also be in the crosshairs of the merged studio. Its release is scheduled for 2023.
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