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‘We will fully embrace theatrical,’ Warner Bros. Discovery CEO says. What does that mean for HBO Max?

During the second quarter earnings call on Thursday, the media conglomerate revealed its new plans for its streaming service HBO Max and Discovery+

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A woman stands in front of a Warner Bros. logo at a press conference in Beijing in Feb. 24, 2005.

A woman stands in front of a Warner Bros. logo at a press conference in Beijing in Feb. 24, 2005.

Greg Baker, Associated Press

Not releasing “Batgirl” isn’t the only bomb HBO’s parent company has dropped as it turns over a new leaf.

In the second quarter earnings call on Thursday, Warner Bros. Discovery said that HBO Max, HBO and Discovery+ had 92.1 million subscribers combined, up 1.7 million from last quarter. However, in the U.S. and Canada, Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming services lost nearly 300,000 subscribers during that time, according to Variety.

The media conglomerate incurred a $3.42 billion loss in the second quarter due to its recent merger back in April —  $2 billion spent on amortization of intangibles, $1 billion on restructuring, and $983 million on expenses from the transaction and integration.

“We have the most powerful creative engine and bouquet of owned content in the world, as highlighted by our industry leading 193 Emmy nominations, and we intend to maximize the value of that content through a broad distribution model that includes theatrical, streaming, linear cable, free-to-air, gaming, consumer products and experiences, and more, everywhere in the world,” said President and CEO David Zaslav, per Yahoo News.

“We’re confident we’re on the right path to meet our strategic goals and really excel, both creatively and financially, and couldn’t be more excited about the future of our company,” he continued.

Zaslav also added that the “curation, quality and brand are more important” when thinking about content, reported Decider’s Alex Zalben.

“We will fully embrace theatrical,” he added, reaffirming that streaming is not the only priority for the studio.

One big platform for HBO and Discovery

But that’s not all. During the call, Zaslav also said that they will bring HBO Max and Discovery+ together in one “offering,” potentially migrating to a single platform rolling out in summer 2023.

In a slide, JB Perrette, the president and CEO of Discovery Streaming, categorized HBO Max as skewed towards men, featuring more scripted content and fandoms-related media, while Discovery+ leans toward women, with unscripted shows and comfort-viewing programming, becoming home to “genredoms.”

The iconic franchises Warner Bros. Discovery is interested in keeping are “Batman,” “Superman,” “Shark Week,” “Game of Thrones,” the “90 Day Fiancé” universe and “Harry Potter,” while they also hold on to shows like “Friends,” “Fixer Upper,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Property Brothers,” “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” and “Sex and The City.”

Expect more bad news

The company is still looking to cut the promised $3 billion in costs. According to Forbes, there are reports that the company may lay off 70% of the production staff at HBO Max. Rumors are also circulating that some of the streaming service’s original shows, like “Hacks,” “Gossip Girl” and “Harley Quinn,” may be canceled.

The news wouldn’t be that surprising, especially after HBO’s “Batgirl” and “Scoob!” sequels have been reportedly shelved.

“The decision to not release ‘Batgirl’ reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said.

“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.”