Warner Bros. is taking a completely opposite tack from all of Hollywood. But will it work?
These have been very busy days for the film industry. between the cancellation of batgirl and the sequel to scoob! and the announcement that hbo max will become a new streaming service just a couple of years after being launched on the market, the world of cinema turned its attention to the future of Warner Bros., the legendary studio he helped build Hollywood and who owns many of the movies and franchises most successful in the world.
The most discussed topic is the future of The DC Extended Universe, not just because batgirl was the film that started all these changes, also because the very public controversies of artists such as Amber Heard, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Joss Whedon, Ruby Rose, and Zack Snyder have always directly affected the big screen adaptations of their Superheros.
It’s a bad time to be a movie studio
The cinema this going through tremendous changes. The pandemic consolidated the streaming as a viable option to enjoy art from the comfort of our homes, in addition to the way in which the blockbusters monopolized the box office makes the studios bet mostly on films with huge production costs that raise as much money as soon as possible.
And it turns out the internet, piracy, the global marketplace, and censorship rules in other countries they make movie releases less profitable for companies. That’s why, Universal, Disney and Paramount decided that their biggest movie releases would reach their platforms just a month and a half after they premiered on the billboard.
Even with this scenario, the new CEO of Warner Bros Discovery: David Zaslav just announced with your changes you are looking to create a strategy completely different to what your competitors are doing. It will work? Here we explain!
Where does the strategy come from?
Recently, David Zaslav defended the decision to cancel batgirl under the idea that “They weren’t going to release a movie unless we believed in it.” But he got engaged to a 10-year plan focused solely on DC, and months ago it announced that it will be a division with an autonomous structure and its Own team, so he assured that the films of The Flash, Aquaman 2 and Shazam 2 will be released in theaters as planned.
This is a purely commercial decision, since during his income statement presentation he said that “In addition to the fact that we want to grow with the DC characters, we want to protect the brand.” This makes a lot of sense if we take into account their commitment to save 3 billion dollars to support the debt you incurred when Discovery bought Warner Bros for $43 billion.
Zaslav learned from the lessons of AT&T, who bought warner bros. for 85 billion dollars with the aim of turning it into a technology company that would compete with Netflix. In the end, in addition to never knowing how to structure the company, the amount of investment needed to create the Snyderverse and the structure of HBO Max left them with $181 billion in debt, so in the end they ended up selling WB at half of what they bought it for.
Does it make any sense?
They should also be very aware of netflix losses or the fact that Paramount spent more on streaming than Top:Gun Maverick made at the box office. Building a functional platform with a wide catalog is not an easy task, especially when in the end it is a service very similar among its competitors, so there is little room to innovate and offer something different to your subscribers.
But before the rise of streaming, HBO already did that. Therefore, the company intends “remove redundancies” (what is rumored would lead to the dismissal of the 70% of HBO Max workers) and let CaseyBloys, who has been in charge of the content division of HBO since 2004, organize everything that has to do with streaming.
In addition to a new joint service, “They are also exploring options for free ad-based services,” a strategy that has been very lucrative for Pluto TV and Tubi. Besides that Elvis will premiere first for digital rental, thing that made Trolls 2: World Tour was a success for Universal.
Warner Bros Discovery they are making the decisions that they believe are correct from a financial point of view and that is why they believe that they are betting on the cinema. As the CEO said: “We fully embrace cinema because we believe it creates interest and demand, provides a great marketing push and builds word-of-mouth hype as movies stream and beyond.”
But they don’t take into account what’s important
Although for them they make financial sense since they seek save as much as possible the uncertainty and the way in which the changes were announced they made that Warner Bros Discovery lost 12% of its value on Wall Street. Since at the end of the day, they’re betting that the content is so good enough to justify the erratic cancellations of content and remove from the market a platform with 76.8 million subscribers, which is also considered one of the best for its content offer.
On the other hand, the strategy they had with Batgirl, had already been implemented and people I waited for the tape which generates only controversies and negative talk against the studio and its productions, especially if we take into account that they still have to carry the weight of the Snyderverse. Plus it makes fans lose loyalty to the brand they care so much about.
Adding to that, the new platform will take 2 years to arrive, and although we will surely continue to see new content on the service —because House of The Dragon is about to join the catalog—we don’t know what premiere strategies they will take or what they will offer while the transition occurs. That would see the new streaming service enter the market when other nascent platforms like Disney+, Apple TV+ and Paramount+ are more consolidated, as they continue to grow by leaps and bounds.
In addition to the fact that failing to notify their creative teams is an error that was repeated with a magnitude similar to that of the hybrid ad that they tried in 2021. It was not only disrespectful to the teams of batgirl and scoob, but the uncertainty has made employees start looking for another joband to consider the renegotiation of contracts with the artists of their closest productions.
For this reason, Christopher Nolan decided to leave Warner Bros. and join Universal. And it is said that Walter Hamada was about to resign when the news broke. So while it makes sense from a financial standpoint, they really don’t have a solid plan where it matters: creating quality movies and series that are supposed to justify these changes. But we will have to wait to find out how the strategy works under the new command of Warner Bros Discovery.
What do you think, Cinephiles and Cinephiles? Do you think the changes at Warner Bros and Universal are a good idea?