Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels Defends Shelving Batgirl

By Jessica Lerner 

Apparently, Warner Bros. Discovery’s cancellation of the nearly completed $90 million Batgirl feature film was “blown out of proportion” by the media. At least, that’s CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels’ take.

The decision to scrap the film, which was set to be released in both theaters and on HBO Max, caught the industry off guard, with CEO David Zaslav explaining at the company’s second-quarter earnings call in early August that Warner Bros. Discovery wouldn’t release a movie just to have it out in the world.

“To me, you know, it’s blown out of proportion a little bit, in terms of the attention externally,” said Wiedenfels Thursday at the Bank of America Securities Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, of the decision.


“I don’t think it is unusual,” he said of shelving Batgirl. “We are a creative industry and one of the elements of creativity is that there is judgment and views on what the potential of what a certain piece of [intellectual property] might be.”

“The focus is, on a go-forward basis here, we’re spending more than ever in the history of the two legacy companies on content,” he added. We’re continuing to make significant investments — [but] we’ll make them differently.”

Scrapping the film was only the tip of the iceberg for the fire WBD and HBO Max have come under in recent weeks, as they also decided to axe Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, a follow-up to the 2020 film Scoob.

HBO Max has been pulling content from its streaming library left and right over the past month, including at least six HBO Max Original films, 20 Original series and nearly 200 episodes of Sesame Street and various specials.

More cuts are coming as Warner Bros. Discovery plans to merge its two streaming services–HBO Max and Discovery+–by the summer of next year.

“As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery+,” HBO Max said in a statement. “That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.