Warner Bros. Discovery CEO Dave Zaslav responded defensively to questions about the various series and movies leaving HBO Max, speaking instead of how the company will focus on big franchises in the future.
In a fiery response, Zaslav defended the company’s decision to withdraw series and movies from HBO Maxtelling investors in third-quarter earnings that shows like “Bonanza” aren’t doing anything to win new subscribers to HBO Max.
“The entire library or almost the entire library shouldn’t be on HBO Max and paid for by HBO Max,” Zaslav says, citing vast libraries of series that remain on the service while generating no interest for the public.
Instead, Zaslav says that the company will focus on popular franchises such as Harry Potter, House of the Dragon and The Lord of the Ringsof which Zaslav reminded investors that Warner Bros. Discovery still has rights to make movies.
“We’re going to focus on franchises. We haven’t made a Superman movie in 10 years. We haven’t made a Harry Potter movie in 15 years… One of the biggest advantages we have (House of the Dragon is an example of that ) Game of Thrones. Sex and the City. Lord of the Rings. We still have the rights to make Lord of the Rings movies.”
Zaslav says that the company will focus on franchises like The Lord of the Rings, and even more on Harry Potter if author JK Rowling is interested.
Another twist will be stop putting movies directly on streaming services, like Dune and The Matrix Resurrections. According to Zaslav, movies released in theaters have performed much better than those released directly on streaming, which has not translated into more subscribers.
The decision to release movies directly to HBO Max was a decision made when Warner Bros. was still owned by AT&T, and apparently a very unpopular decision with both Hollywood directors and Discovery’s new owners.
Zaslav says that the company’s goal is reduce spending while working in large franchises which will surely be successful. To help with this, Zaslav has hired James Gunn and Peter Safran as DC’s new heads, whom he has praised for bringing a unified approach and project to DC.