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Thursday, August 4, 2022

Roundups #80: The Purges Of HBO Max

In the last several months, Warner Bros. Discovery has been making headlines for the bulk of cutbacks seen on HBO Max and today we give a roundup of some of the most shocking news that makes us believe that the Netflix giant is becoming a vegetable.

1. Gordita Chronicles ends its run after one season as streamer steps back from live-action for family and kids

“Live-action kids and family programming will not be part of our programming focus in the immediate future, and as a result, we’ve had to make the very difficult decision to end Gordita Chronicles at HBO Max,” the statement reads. “The series earned critical acclaim and a loyal following, and we are proud to have worked with creator Claudia Forestieri and our two powerhouse executive producers, Eva Longoria (who also masterfully directed the pilot) and Zoe SaldaƱa, to bring Cucu’s journey to the screen. We thank them and the talented cast and crew for creating such a heartfelt, groundbreaking show that connected deeply with a very important demographic.”

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2. Scoob sequel had been shelved

Scoob! was a CG-animated prequel story that told the origin of Mystery, Inc., including the first meeting of Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, while also introducing various other members of the Hanna-Barbera universe, like Falcon and Captain Caveman, who made their theatrical feature film debut. In the movie, Scooby and the gang face their most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this dogpocalypse, the gang discovers that Scooby has an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined.

The first look at Scoob!: Holiday Haunt was shown during an HBO Max teaser at the end of 2021. Scoob! director Tony Cervone confirmed a sequel was in the works, sharing his excitement for the project. "Actually, we are kicking the tires on a follow-up to Scoob! " Cervone revealed to Comic Book Movie . "It hasn't been announced yet, but it's something we're all excited about. The whole creative team that made the first movie is still around and back and working on something new. It was neat to create this Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe, and it's exciting to return to it.

3. Batgirl movie had been shelved despite post production

Warner Bros. Discovery will not release “Batgirl,” either theatrically or on HBO MAX, the media has learned. The $90 million project is effectively dead.

“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future,” according to Warner Bros. Picture Spokesperson.

Made under a previous regime, “Batgirl” was initially designed to be an HBO Max release, and then was being considered for theatrical distribution. Due to COVID issues and shutdowns, the budget ballooned to $90 million.

The movie stars “In the Heights” breakout star Leslie Grace in the title role of Barbara Gordon.

4. HBO Max halts original production in major parts of Europe

As the media conglomerate looks to recalibrate its streaming priorities, it will no longer produce originals for HBO Max in the Nordics (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland), Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey, and will also remove some content from its platform in order to free up licensing deals elsewhere.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. Discovery said:

“As we continue to work on combining HBO Max and discovery+ into one global streaming service showcasing the breadth of content across Warner Bros. Discovery, we are reviewing our current content proposition on the existing services. As part of this process, we have decided to remove a limited amount of original programming from HBO Max, as well as ceasing our original programming efforts for HBO Max in the Nordics and Central Europe. We have also ceased our nascent development activities in the newer territories of Netherlands and Turkey, which had commenced over the past year.

“Our commitment to these markets has not changed,” the statement continues. “We will continue to commission local content for Warner Bros. Discovery’s linear networks in these regions and we remain substantial acquirers of local third-party content for use on our streaming services.”

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5. Several original films have been removed from the platform

Within the past few weeks, at least six Warner Bros. movies have been removed from HBO Max: “Moonshot ,” a sci-fi rom-com starring Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse; artificial-intelligence dystopia comedy “Superintelligence ,” starring Melissa McCarthy; Robert Zemeckis’ 2020 remake of “The Witches,” starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock; comedy “An American Pickle,” starring Seth Rogen as an immigrant who wakes up after being pickled for 100 years; Doug Liman heist pic “Locked Down” with Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor; and drama “Charm City Kings” from director Angel Manuel Soto.

All six of the films were labeled as “Max Originals.” The removals were noted by users on Reddit in a discussion of the Warner Bros. decision to nix plans to release “Batgirl” — in theaters, on HBO Max or via any other platform.

Meanwhile, the reboot of comedy classic “House Party,” from LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill, was previously slated to premiere July 28 on HBO Max but was scrubbed from the release calendar.

6. Warner Bros. Discovery to lay off more staff

Hollywood is abuzz with speculation approaching Warner Bros. Discovery’s first quarterly earnings since becoming the nation’s No. 2 entertainment giant on Thursday. Multiple insiders told sources they expect Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav to announce a major restructuring of marquee streaming platforms HBO Max and Discovery+ during its results or soon after.

The move will result in a gutting of HBO Max, significant layoffs for its executives and staff to minimize redundancies with HBO and a combined streaming service with Discovery+ with a harder line separation between the scripted and unscripted content operations.

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