Why HBO Max will continue to purge movies and TV shows from the service is becoming more and more clear. Warner Bros. Discovery, who owns HBO Max, recently shelved their $90 million superhero film, Batgirl, while it was in post-production, as well as a planned Scooby Doo animated sequel, Scoob! Holiday Haunt. The abrupt cancellations of both projects shocked Hollywood, as well as fans looking forward to both. It has become apparent that a new strategy is being implemented by the new leadership at WB Discovery (which merged earlier this year) that will see more casualties to come.
Stirring up even more controversy is the news that WB Discovery has removed six HBO Max original films from the streaming service. Those films include Seth Rogen’s American Pickle, Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches remake, Melissa McCarthy’s Superintelligence, Locked Down starring Anne Hathaway, the Sundance hit Charm City Kings, and Moonshot, which had only been on the service for just over two months. The removal of these HBO Max exclusives was never officially announced and was only discovered by Reddit users who noticed their absence.
Now it’s being reported that WB Discovery will purge even more movies and TV shows from HBO Max in a move that’s more financial than anything else. Per IndieWire, the removal of the previously-mentioned movies are part of a longer list of films and scripted series that are being pulled off HBO Max and Discovery+. Warner Bros. Discovery’s first quarterly earnings report is due on Thursday, and these moves appear to be preemptive of that, with a major restructuring expected as Warner Bros. Discovery executives seemingly prepare to “turn two SVOD (subscriber video on-demand) services into one”.
This removal of content is due to amortization, which allows WB Discovery to remove the content from HBO Max and “use its remaining cost balance to offset taxable income elsewhere.” The added benefit to this is removing movies and series that are not performing well on the service and can potentially be used as a partial tax write-off, which is the path WB Discovery is taking with Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt. In the case of those two films, it also means that since they’ll be tax write-offs, they won’t be eligible to be sold or distributed at a later date. Meanwhile, the movies being pulled off HBO Max can still be bought or rented through third-party SVOD services. Additionally, taking off movies and series that aren’t performing well helps to cut down on users being inundated with content selections.
What these shake-ups ultimately represent is a drastic shift in business strategy for Warner Bros. Discovery, as the new leadership works to cut down $3 billion in cost-savings for the newly-merged Discovery, Inc. and WarnerMedia. While the prior leadership focused heavily on the streaming side of things, particularly HBO Max, WB Discovery is shifting its content strategy to a more theatrical-focused model, rather than an influx of scripted streaming content. Expect even more shake-ups before the week is out, as the WB Discovery earnings call is likely to be even more revealing as to the future of HBO Max.
Next: Keaton’s Batman Future In The DCEU Is Looking Really Bad Now
Marvel Hints Doctor Strange’s Return Will Come With One Major Twist
About The Author