Bad news in the world of streaming. The cancellation of the almost finished ‘Batgirl‘ (Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, 2023) has been only the beginning of a series of catastrophic news related to the merged Warner Bros. Discovery and its main streaming service, HBO Max .
The worst confirmations came from The Wrap when it was learned that HBO Max will fire 70% of its staff and stop making original fiction , including the series that had already been renewed and that now will either become HBO productions, or will become the list of the canceled series and final seasons in 2022 .
At the moment, ’12 Dates of Christmas’, ‘About Last Night’, ‘Aquaman: King of Atlantis‘, ‘Magic Camp’, ‘Camping’, ‘The Infinite Train’, ‘Esme and Roy’, are already out of the catalog. ‘Genera+ion’, ‘Generation Hustle’, ‘Mrs. Fletcher’, ‘Little Ellen’, ‘Odo’, ‘Run’, ‘The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo’, ‘Theodosia’, ‘The Runaway Bunny ‘, ‘Tig n’Seek’, ‘Vinyl’ and ‘Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs’.
In addition, there are productions on the air such as ‘The Peacemaker’, ‘Titans’, ‘Minx’, ‘Hacks’, ‘Our Flag Means Death’, ‘Doom Patrol’, ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’, ‘The sexual life of college girls’, ‘And Just Like That…’ and the wonderful ‘Harley Quinn’ .
On the other hand, the HBO productions continue and, although some could make room to accommodate some of the HBO Max titles that will be saved, there is no need to fear for the future of ‘ Euphoria ‘, ‘ Succession ‘and, of course, ‘ The House of the Dragon ‘ .
The merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, Inc. propelled David Zaslav as chief executive of a conglomerate that promised a bright future for the HBO Max brand but has ended up being the target of much of the operations to reduce expenses and debt accumulated over years.
Things started to stink when, in November 2021, Discovery Streaming CEO JB Perrette discussed with Zaslav the options of uniting his channel, Discovery+, on a single platform. This merger was confirmed in March 2022 and, although it was noted that it would be “long-term”, the first movements have not taken long to be noticed .
Europe took the lead, seeing how projects to produce Max Originals in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland), Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey were cancelled. At the same time, already released series.
Later it was the North American market itself that saw how its own production titles disappeared from HBO Max for no apparent reason . Among others, the catalog no longer had available ‘The Kings of Baltimore’ (Angel Manuel Soto, 2020), ‘Superintelligence’ (Ben Falcone, 2020), ‘Pickled in Time’ (Brandon Trost, 2020), ‘The Witches ( by Roald Dahl)’ (Robert Zemeckis, 2020), ‘Confined’ (Doug Liman, 2021) and ‘Moonshot’ (Christopher Winterbauer, 2022).
The news of the cancellation of ‘Batgirl’, shot and at the end of its post-production, has made us understand a little more the sad reality behind the movements of a company willing to do anything to reduce costs, even putting it in a drawer a 70 million film to deduct taxes .
Zaslav decided the production was too cheap to be released in theaters but too expensive to simply appear on HBO Max, so he opted for that deduction whereby a percentage of what was invested will be returned to him and the title will disappear from the face of the land next to ‘Scoob!: Holiday Haunt’ (Bill Haller, Michael Kurinsky, 2023), another finished title that will suffer the same fate.