Streaming giant HBO Max has cut six upcoming animated projects from its programming lineup, a company spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday. This comes as the video-on-demand service seeks to cut $3 billion worth of costs in preparation for its merger with Discovery+.
The layoffs, which include the much-anticipated “Batman: Caped Crusader”, have been labeled as “inevitable” by the company. This comes after HBO Max had already announced the scrapping of two films that were set for release, namely, “The Batgirl” and “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt.” “The Batgirl”, which was near completion at the time of the announcement, had already cost the studio $70 million to produce.
CEO David Zaslav stated on an earnings call that Warner Bros. Discovery is looking to cut back on HBO Max original content; rather focusing its efforts on box office releases. “We can’t find an economic case for direct-to-streaming films. The emphasis will always be on theatrical,” Zaslav explained.
According to Bloomberg Intelligence senior media analyst Geetha Ranganathan, the merger between Discovery+ and HBO Max “makes sense” as this will combine Discovery’s portfolio of global and nonfiction programming with HBO Max’s high-quality scripted content.