Warner Bros. Discovery president David Zaslav announced the merger of HBO Max and Discovery on a Thursday second-quarter earnings call.
The media company withheld the name of the new platform, which it said would debut in the U.S. in the summer of 2023 before expanding to other countries in 2024.
According to the quarterly financial report, the current versions of HBO Max and Discovery have a combined 92 million members. By 2025, Warner Bros. Discovery wants to have 130 million subscribers worldwide.
Zaslav said on the results call that the business is thinking about making the unified streaming platform free and ad-supported. Currently, the $10 per month ad-supported tier of HBO Max costs.
After WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. officially combined in April, forming one of the biggest media businesses in the United States, Zaslav promised investors he would locate $3 billion in savings and slash costs. He is now working to fulfill that promise.
Two days after the decision by Warner Bros. to cancel “Batgirl” and “Scoob! : Holiday Haunt,” two films made specifically for HBO Max and approved by the previous corporate leadership, word of the change in streaming plan leaked.
In order to obtain a tax write-off on both projects and attempt to recoup production costs, “Batgirl” and the “Scoob!” sequel won’t be released in theaters or on any streaming services. according to Variety.
Leslie Grace, who plays “Batgirl,” is “an incredibly talented actor, and this decision is not a reflection of her performance,” a Warner Bros. Pictures spokesperson said in a statement. “The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max.”
Hollywood was shocked by the action because major studios rarely completely bury pictures there.
Most often, movies that don’t live up to a studio’s creative or financial standards are discreetly deleted from cinemas without a marketing campaign or sold off to a streaming service.
Six movies created especially for HBO Max recently appeared to vanish from the service, including the Seth Rogen comedy “An American Pickle” and the Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor-led love drama “Locked Down,” which is set during the Covid era.
The Warner Bros. Discovery restructuring takes place during a tumultuous period in Hollywood. The streaming industry’s future is uncertain in light of Netflix’s financial difficulties, and many executives are concerned about the impending recession.
Jason Kilar, the former CEO of WarnerMedia, had a very different vision for the business than Zaslav does. (Kilar oversaw WarnerMedia when the media company was a subsidiary of the telecom behemoth AT