The recent decision by Warner Bros. Discovery to shelve the nearly finished DC superhero movie “Batgirl” left fans confused and outraged. But it has also yielded a trove of fantastic memes.
The $90 million Warner Bros. production, starring Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, won’t be released theatrically or on HBO Max, or anywhere else. Why? The media conglomerate determined that taking a tax write-off for “Batgirl” (and the animated “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt”) made more financial sense than releasing it commercially, Variety reported.
“We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quarter and we’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it,” WBD chief David Zaslav said on the company’s earnings call last week, responding to a question about the “Batgirl” cancellation. It’s a cost-cutting move under the company, formed earlier this year by Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia, at it looks to rein in content expenses. As part of the strategy, HBO Max quietly removed several Warner Bros. movies that were streaming exclusively on the service along with a few original series.
Under Warner Bros. Discovery’s stewardship, HBO Max also recently killed Greg Berlanti’s DC series “Strange Adventures” and a “Wonder Twins” live-action movie. For Q2, WBD recorded restructuring charges that included content impairments of $496 million and content development write-offs of $329 million, which “resulted from a global strategic review of content following the merger,” the company disclosed in its 10-Q filing with the SEC. (And that probably doesn’t include write-offs for “Batgirl” or “Scoob 2.”)
Of course, social-media wiseacres can’t let a good Hollywood controversy go to waste. And on Thursday, the hashtag “#HBOMaxJustCanceled” began trending on Twitter, inviting gagsters to imagine other spinoffs, sequels, prequels and other projects that the bean counters at Warner Bros. Discovery have tossed into the content-impairment-charge bin.
Here are some of the top entries in the #HBOMaxJustCanceled challenge:
— Clint Kritzer (@ClintK64) August 11, 2022
— TVTrance (@network_trance) August 12, 2022
— Münchener Post (@MunichPost) August 12, 2022
— Strong Coffee (@StrongCoffee17) August 12, 2022
— Penguin_Pete.exe 🐧⌨️💻🖥️🖱️💿💾🖊️📺 (@Penguin_Pete) August 12, 2022
— Jimmy (@JimmyStreich) August 11, 2022
— BatmanAndRobert (@MacDoug1) August 11, 2022
#HBOMaxJustCanceled their Game of Thrones/Monty Python crossover called The Life of Bran.
— Allan 🇨🇦 (@AlMcL30d) August 11, 2022
— Wesley L. (@realwesleywess) August 12, 2022
— DnD Sesame Street (@DnDSesame) August 12, 2022
— Dan 🇨🇦 (@SimmaDAN522) August 11, 2022
— bluebonnetdem IVotedFor46🐾🐾🐾 (@McElroyMarra) August 12, 2022
VIP+ Analysis: WBD’s ‘Batgirl’ Blunder Spoils a Solid Strategy
‘Batgirl’ Movie Axing Spawns Hilarious #HBOMaxJustCanceled Trend