HBO Max is killing its darlings. Hollywood has been abuzz with the news that Batgirl, an HBO Max original movie starring Leslie Grace as the popular DC comic book character, was being scrapped from its planned release on the streamer, or any other platform for that matter, despite reports of being completed. On top of that, it has been revealed the streaming service has also unceremoniously pulled six previously released HBO Max original movies from its lineup without warning.
What is the cause of all of these decisions? From what we can tell its largely due to the change in leadership for the newly combined Warner Media Discovery company that owns Warner Bros. and HBO Max and their efforts to cut costs. But that’s the technical stuff, here’s the important things to know on how this impacts what you can watch on HBO Max.
Starting with Batgirl, the movie was an anticipated adaptation of the popular comic book character, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. Leslie Grace (In the Heights) was set to play Batgirl, which she was clearly very excited about doing:
Remembering how excited Leslie Grace was to play Barbara Gordon makes #Batgirl's reported cancellation even more heartbreaking. https://t.co/kDSekjoOWG pic.twitter.com/deMNoqYcLEAugust 2, 2022
Also set to be in the movie was JK Simmons, reprising his Justice League role as Commissioner Gordon, Brendan Fraser and Michael Keaton, who was going to don the Batsuit once again as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The movie was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who in an Instagram post (opens in new tab) said they "saddened and shocked" by the decision, while also acknowledging that the movie was not yet finished, blurring reports that it was "completed."
Batgirl had a reported price tag of $90 million that Warner Media Discovery is just going to eat. Variety (opens in new tab) provided a detailed explanation on what may have caused the decision to cancel the movie.
Similarly, a House Party remake and the animated movie Scoob: Holiday Haunt are not going to premiere on HBO Max (House Party had previously been expected to release on July 28, but it didn’t happen).
It’s not just Batgirl or other unreleased movies, however. Reddit (opens in new tab) users noticed that six HBO Max original movies have recently disappeared from the streaming service, including Seth Rogen’s An American Pickle, Anne Hathaway’s Locked Down and The Witches, Melissa McCarthy’s Superintelligence, the Lana Condor-led Moonshot and the indie drama Charm City Kings.
Though not streaming, Warner Media Discovery also opted to cancel TBS’ Chad the day its second season was supposed to premiere. In fact, no new original scripted programming (opens in new tab) is in development at TBS and TNT and the future of current scripted series in uncertain.
Again, all of this appears to be cost saving measures for HBO Max. Though these moves are high profile and have riled up a number of fanbases, it’s not the only streaming service seemingly cutting costs. Netflix and Prime Video have been adding to the list of 2022 cancelled shows recently, including buzzy titles like The Wilds. Perhaps the days of seemingly never-ending streaming content are coming to an end.
You can see what is new on HBO Max in August right here.
Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.
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