August 10, 2022
Why Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav Cuts ‘Batgirl’

Warner Bros. Discovery boss David Zaslav said nothing about the company’s controversial decision to cancel releases for “Batgirl” and “Scoob!: Holiday Hunt.”

“We’re not going to launch a movie until it’s ready,” Zaslav said on the quarterly earnings call late Thursday. “We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quarter and we’re not going to put out a movie until we believe in it.”

Warner Bros. Discovery, whose properties include HBO, CNN, Warner Bros., HGTV and TLC, shocked fans when it announced earlier this week that it was pre-starring “In the Heights” star Leslie Grace. Will scrap “Batgirl”.

“Batgirl” and 2020’s “Scoob!” While cutting out the animated sequel would potentially save the media giant a fortune in marketing costs and any back-end payments, it upset employees, according to puck newsCall Zaslav the “butcher” behind closed doors.

Leslie Grace
“Batgirl”, starring Leslie Grace, was almost completed before Warner Bros. Discovery decided to cut the film.

Since the close of the $43 billion merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia, Zaslav has displayed a no-nonsense, budget-focused leadership style that has translated into more than a few rip-the-band-aid decisions.

Most notably: Shortly after the merger closed, the CEO closed CNN’s $300 million streaming service, CNN+.

On Thursday’s earnings call, Zaslav underscored the importance of smart financial decisions when it comes to big-ticket releases — “Batgirl” reportedly cost the company between $70 million and $90 million — and he pointed to the company’s DC Pointed out superhero qualities as the focus of the company. comprehensive strategy.

David Zaslav
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has reportedly been called a “butcher” by employees for his quick decisions to end projects.

“You look at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman – these are brands that are known everywhere in the world,” the CEO said. “We’ve done a reset. We’ve restructured the business where we’re going to be focused to become a team with a 10-year plan focusing only on DC. We believe we’re going to be more sustainable. can build a business.”

Zaslav’s strategy is similar to Disney’s playbook for Marvel, the film studio that dominates the box office with billion-dollar blockbusters like the “Avengers” franchise.

Jason Momoa in Aquaman
Warner Bros. Discovery is hoping to capitalize on DC flicks like “Aquaman” to compete with Marvel.
DC Entertainment / Warner Bros.

Run by Kevin Feige, Marvel is the highest-grossing film franchise in history, and Zaslav recently brought on Feige’s former boss, retired Disney film chief Alan Horn, as a consultant.

“It’s similar to Allen Horn’s structure, [former Disney CEO] Bob Iger and Kevin Feige put together very effectively at Disney,” Zaslav said of their strategy. “We think we can build a stronger, more sustainable growth business out of DC. As part of that, we are going to focus on quality. We are not going to release any film before it is ready. … DC is something we can make better.”

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