New leadership at Warner Bros. Discovery, including recently named CEO David Zaslav, have announced the cancelation of a couple high profile feature film projects amid efforts to cut costs and redirect the studio’s focuse to theatrical films rather than streaming, which had been a priority for the former WarnerMedia chief, Jason Kilar.
One of the titles under the axe is the CGI sequel Scoob! Holiday Haunt. A follow-up to the Hanna-Barbera toons’ 2020 movie Scoob!, which was released straight to premium digital and and on demand to accomodate COVID-19 shutdowns (Hollywood Reporter calculated it as the third-most popular PVOD title of the pandemic). The made-for-streaming spinoff was budgeted around $40 million.
The sequel was announced in development by director Tony Cervone in 2021 and a first look was included in an HBO Max sizzle reel later that year, showing the Mystery Inc. gang as youngsters and set around the Christmas holiday. Cervone was set to produce the project and write it with Paul Dini, with Scoob! head of animation Bill Haller and veteran vizdev/background artist Michael Kurinsky (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) set to co-direct.
Warner Bros. Discovery has also shelved the DC pic Batgirl, which had finished shooting and was headed for release on HBO Max this year. The live-action project went over budget to $90 million due to COVID-19 protocols. The film was to feature the first Latina actress in the role of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, Leslie Grace (In the Heights), and was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life).
Regarding the cancelations, a spokesperson for the studio stated: “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.”
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]