Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to cancel the release of HBO Max’s Batgirl (a movie that had supposedly finished shooting but will now be permanently left on a shelf as part of some kind of tax scheme) is the big headline-grabbing shocker of this week, but it’s not even the only movie WBD decided to abandon this week. At the same time that it killed Batgirl, Warner Bros. Discovery also decided to cancel the release of Scoob!:Holiday Haunt, a CG-animated sequel to early pandemic release Scoob! that was reportedly very close to being finished.
It got a little lost in all of the Batgirl hullaballoo, but Holiday Haunt co-writer Paul Dini—yes, that Paul Dini, the writer on Batman: The Animated Series and the co-creator of Harley Quinn—took to Twitter earlier this week (via Collider) to share his thoughts on the movie getting shelved, and he seems as puzzled as the rest of us.
Dini notes that, yes, he’s disappointed as the film’s co-writer, but more than that he questions why the studio would “cancel a 95% finished holiday movie this close to fall, when you’re guaranteed kids watching it from right after Halloween until at least New Year’s.” He adds that it “makes no business sense” especially since both kids and parents had “dug” the movie at a work-in-progress screening.
The Batgirl directors (Adil El Arbi and Bilall Falla) were similarly baffled, saying yesterday that they were “saddened and shocked” by the news. It all speaks to the apparent shortsightedness of Warner Bros. Discovery’s aggressive cost-cutting measures with HBO Max, which apparently involve pulling way back on scripted programming in favor of reality shows (and if the particularly bleak rumors are true, someday cutting out HBO Max entirely and folding its content into Discovery+). Whatever happens, it seems like we’ll never get to see Batgirl or Scoob!: Holiday Haunt anyway.