HBO Max is undergoing some changes after its parent company merged with Discovery — and some fans are worried about the fate of their favorite shows.
In April 2022, WarnerMedia (which owns HBO Max) merged with Discovery (which owns Discovery+), creating a new company called Warner Bros. Discovery. Observers immediately began to wonder if executives planned to combine the two streaming services or offer a bundled package as Disney does with Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+.
One month before the merger was finalized, Discovery’s chief financial officer Gunnar Wiedenfels confirmed that the company eventually planned to combine HBO Max and Discovery+.
As changes started popping up on HBO Max in August 2022, however, subscribers started questioning what might happen to Max Originals shows and movies as the two streaming services began sharing content. Max Originals — which include the Sex and the City spinoff And Just Like That as well as the Gossip Girl revival (which was canceled in January 2023), Hacks and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin — appear only on the streaming service and do not air on HBO’s cable channel.
Rumors continued flying after Warner Bros. axed Batgirl, a feature film adaptation of the comic set to star Leslie Grace. The movie was greenlit in 2021 and was originally meant to premiere exclusively on HBO Max, but in August 2022, the studio announced that it was shelving the movie indefinitely, meaning it won’t premiere on streaming or in theaters. (Batgirl had already finished principal photography and was in the middle of post-production.)
At the same time, Warner Bros. canceled Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, a sequel to the 2020 animated film Scoob! Like Batgirl, Holiday Haunt was already finished and reportedly cost Warner Bros. $40 million to make.
HBO Max also quietly removed several original movies from the streaming service, including Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse‘s Moonshot and the 2020 remake of The Witches starring Anne Hathaway. Some observers characterized the move as unusual, as HBO Max has previously been publicly announcing which movies and series will be leaving the streaming service each month.
According to IndieWire, those titles are “part of a long list of films and series” being pulled off HBO Max and Discovery+ as the two services gear up for their merger. “The content being targeted for removal tends to be shows and movies that are not performing on the service but have an opportunity for a partial write off,” the outlet reported.
The services finally merged in May 2023 under the name Max.
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