John Oliver took aim at his network’s parent company’s decision to shelve Batgirl.
The Last Week Tonight host chided Warner Bros. Discovery for its controversial decision last week to dump the $90 million dollar project as a tax write-off.
During a segment on unused COVID-19 vaccines, Oliver said, “We let the vaccine sit unused on a shelf in our reserves like an expired Chobani or a $90 million movie on HBO Max. By the way: Hi there, new business daddy. Seems like you’re doing a really great job. I do get the vague sense that you’re burning down my network for the insurance money, but I’m sure that that will all pass.”
Last week, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav defended his decision to vault the project, which stars Leslie Grace. He suggested the movie wasn’t good enough for a theatrical release yet also too costly for the HBO Max streaming service and that, financially, Batgirl made the most sense as a write-down. “We’re not going to launch a movie until it’s ready,” Zaslav told investors during an earnings call. “We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quarter, and we’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it.”
Batgirl did an audience test screening where it scored in the low 60s, sources previously told The Hollywood Reporter — not stellar, but still far from a number that would typically result in a film not being released at all.
Zaslav also stated the company is implementing a Marvel-like 10-year plan to grow DC into a stronger brand. “You look at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman — these are brands that are known everywhere in the world,” Zaslav said. “We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business where we are going to focus, where there is going to be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC. We believe we can build a much more sustainable business. … We’re going to focus on quality. DC is something that we think we could make better, and we’re focused on it now.”