A day after Hollywood was rocked by the cancellation and shelving of a fully complete Batgirl movie, current Warner Bros Discovery CEO Mike Zaslav doesn’t appear to nearly be done. Six films just disappeared today from the HBO Max menu, seemingly never to return. The move, like Batgirl, was a tax writeoff where you declare an investment to be unprofitable and sever all ties with it.
The only good side to this is that none of them are things anyone would particularly miss, among them the Melissa McCarthy “comedy” Superintelligence, Seth Rogen’s An American Pickle, and that vile Witches remake. A remake of the movie House Party was scheduled to appear on July 28 and now seemingly will not, and could join Batgirl gathering dust.
Speaking of movies, you know how some bad guys define themselves as serious threats by suddenly killing off a beloved character? We now have that guy in real life and he’s Zaslav. He doesn’t just threaten, he acts. He’s the maniac with a knife rambling incoherently and threatening the throats of everyone you care about. He may have offed some minor NPCs this time, but no one is really safe now. And this is a problem because, at the moment, WB has in production a LOT of shows I happen to like. Perhaps shows you like too.
The truth is, the erasure of content started earlier than that, it’s just that no one noticed until Zaslav pulled yesterday’s extremely loud stunt and got under the media microscope. I first noticed it last month when Final Space disappeared from the service. In fact, it didn’t just disappear from there, it was once available on multiple streamers and became impossible to watch on those as well. It has been completely scrubbed from existence — a fate that’s doubly painful if you’ve been following creator Olan Rogers online and know how he’s been struggling to revive the thing. A day or so later, I learned it was a tax writeoff — just like the rest.
While this cheap IRS dodge has been pulled before by companies, no one’s done it to the extent that Zaslav has lately, and for good reason: it’s bad PR, plus it strains your relationship with valuable talent. These are two things that Zaslav doesn’t seem to care about and a pretty nasty rumor would suggest why.
It is being speculated that tomorrow, he plans to announce the layoff of 70% of HBO Max’s workforce and the immediate suspension of all scripted content on the channel in favor of cheap Discovery trash — at the moment this is unconfirmed hysteria, but we hope we don’t have to report it as fact later.