Below the headlines of Warner Bros. Discovery’s Q2 earnings, an additional controversy was sparked when the NY Post broke the story that CEO David Zaslav had decided to completely scrap the development of sequels to SCOOB and BATGIRL. Both titles had originally been greenlit by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and were scheduled to be released on HBO Max exclusively later this year.
However, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav came to a different conclusion, saying that it made little sense to develop films with a combined total budget of $90M only to release them exclusively on streaming.
Moreover, initial test screenings for both SCOOB and BATGIRL were received poorly, making it unlikely that they would be well received by moviegoers if they were to be released theatrically.
Zaslav appears to have concluded that spending tens of millions of dollars to market a theatrical release of these films would amount to throwing good money after bad. Instead, he opted to scrap both releases and write off the money spent on both titles.
Some in the media criticized the move, saying that the studio was throwing away an opportunity to introduce the first Latina superhero, with IN THE HEIGHTS actress Leslie Grace starring as Batgirl.
However, studio sources report that BATGIRL’s test screenings were “that bad,” and Zaslav opted to protect the DC brand from the impact of a badly reviewed movie with little box office success. It also appears that this decision is an example of Zaslav’s “quality over quantity” approach to the business.