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‘The Flash’ Superhero is a Super Problem for Warner-Discovery

The cycle of gasp-worthy news coming from newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) continues this week. This time, it involves the highly anticipated and now controversial production of the superhero film “The Flash.” Thanks to the erratic behavior of the film’s star Ezra Miller, the company is reportedly taking a pause from its regularly scheduled upheaval to consider what to do with the mess it has on its hands. Last year AT&T announced its intentions to merge Warner Bros. and Discovery into one unit. The following spring when the deal was settled, the company’s new CEO David Zaslav began laying out a plan for his vision for WBD’s future. One of the company’s most recent launches, CNN+, was cancelled, and its content was folded into new HBO Max offerings alongside content from TBS, Cartoon Network, TCM, and more.

After the $43 billion merger between the companies was finalized, Zaslav pledged to find $3 billion worth of savings, which at the moment has included canceling TV shows from across the Warner Bros. Discovery line, including “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” and the Adult Swim favorite “Joe Pera Talks With You,” But the biggest shock was the outright cancelation of the HBO Max feature film, DC comic’s Batgirl. With roughly $90 million spent on an almost-complete film, the choice to cancel the studio’s first Afro-Latina-led film reportedly came down to a tax write-down, as well as a change in content strategy, as Zaslav wants to reverse the approach of making expensive films just for HBO Max, and instead wants to begin reprioritizing the in-person theatrical experience. As soon as the cancellation was announced, the internet was reeling. And it did not go unnoticed that Batgirl was being cancelled while a much more problematic production was moving full-steam ahead.

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