The Warner Bros Discovery merger has everyone wondering what will happen to upcoming movies and shows due to tall the major shakeups and changes being implemented by CEO David Zaslav. While there are a lot of rumors flying around, one confirmed change will be the merging of HBO Max with Discovery+. The two will be combined as a single streaming platform, giving subscribers full access to both of the platforms’ content catalogs. According to the announcement at the company’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday, the combined service is aiming to release in the summer of 2023. Latin America, Europe, and other markets will aim for launches in late 2023 and early 2024.
According to CEO David Zaslav’s announcement, the merging of these two services is their main priority in regard to their streaming plans. This announcement comes in the wake of Warner Bros Discovery’s industry-shaking decisions to shelve the completed Batgirl film. The film was supposed to release on HBO Max and already had $90 million sunk into production. Along with Batgirl, they also shelved Scoob!: Holiday Haunt which had completed production. Rumors speculate that these movies were shelved to use them as tax write-offs in Zaslav’s efforts to cut costs for the newly merged company. Others speculate it’s in line with Warner Bros Discovery’s expected plans to focus more on theatrical released, rather than releasing directly to the HBO Max streaming platform.
Though the cancellation of the completed Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt movies are the most recent and surprising decisions, it’s far from the only major decision Warner Bros Discovery has made since the merger. Shows have been canceled before their season premieres, scripted programming at TBS and TNT has been cut, and six HBO Max exclusive films have been removed from the platform. There are also rumors that the new direction of the company will be to focus more on unscripted series rather than scripted shows. HBO has long been a haven for original scripted comedies and dramas, so this would be pretty surprising if they do go in this direction. With hit shows like Euphoria and Peacemaker along with highly anticipated shows like House of the Dragon, this would seem like a step in the wrong direction for a platform that has been steadily growing its subscriber base.
An earlier announcement this week also indicated that HBO Max may be turning away from kids and family programming. While all of these measures may be saving on costs, they might take away value from customers of HBO Max. While merging the platform with Discovery+ will undoubtedly provide customers with more content, many HBO Max subscribers are likely paying to have access to DC films and shows, HBO shows, and other exclusive scripted content. At this point, the vast majority of these changes are rumors, so it remains to be seen if there’s any follow-through. At the very least, HBO Max subscribers and Discovery+ subscribers can expect to get a more robust content streaming experience in the near future.