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Warner Bros. Discovery to ‘Focus on Franchises,’ Still Have the Rights to the Lord of the Rings Movies

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Warner Bros. Discovery CEO Dave Zaslav took a defensive approach to questions about the various shows and movies leaving HBO Max, talking instead about how the company will be focusing on the big franchises going forward.

In a fiery response, Zaslav defended the company’s decision to remove shows and movies from HBO Max, telling investors in the third-quarter earnings that shows like “Bonanza” aren’t doing anything to gain 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 unwatched shows that remain on the service while not generating interest for the service.

Instead, Zaslav says the company will focus on popular franchises like Harry Potter, House of the Dragon, and Lord of the Rings which Zaslav reminded investors WBD still has rights to make movies.

“We’re going to have a real focus on franchises. We haven’t had a Superman movie in 10 years. We haven’t done a Harry Potter movie in 15 years… One of the biggest advantages that we have — House of the Dragon is an example of that — Game of Thrones. Taking advantage of Sex of the City. Lord of the Rings, we still have the rights to do Lord of the Rings movies.”

Zaslav says the company will focus on franchises like Lord of the Rings, and even more Harry Potter if author J.K. Rowling is interested.

Another pivot will be away from putting movies direct to streaming services like Dune and Matrix Resurrection. According to Zaslav, movies released in theaters have done significantly better than movies released direct to streaming which have not translated to more subscribers.

The decision to release movies direct to HBO Max was a decision implemented when Warner Bros. was still owned by AT&T, and seemingly a very unpopular decision by both Hollywood directors and the new owners at Discovery.

Zaslav says that the goal of the company is to reduce spending while working on big franchises that are sure to be hits. To help with that, Zaslav hired James Gunn and Peter Safran as the new heads of DC, who he’s praised for bringing a unified approach and blueprint to DC.


Matt T.M. Kim is ‘s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.


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