In a massive $43 billion deal Discovery has merged with WarnerMedia to become Warner Bros Discovery. Warner Bros holds fan favourite movies and TV shows along with rights to DC characters. It has suffered a lot of loss after continually mismanaging its biggest properties. WB’s parent company, AT&T felt like they had to offload as the studio was bleeding money. So last year Discovery stepped up and made the deal with Warner Bros.
As the merger finished last week Discovery now has the controlling share in this deal and its head honcho David Zaslav will be responsible to run the whole studio henceforth. The two companies merged to form a whole new catalogue of content which consists of both Warner Bros projects as well as Discovery projects.
A little history about Warner Bros and Discovery
Warner Bros was founded in 1923 by four brothers Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner. With a legacy of close to a hundred years, the studio released its first nationally syndicated film, My Four Years in Germany during WWI.
The film studio has had a long history and as many owners. The first change of hands came after WWII however, the most notable change of hands came later in 1989 when Time Inc bought the studio making it TimeWarner. Later, AT&T bought the film studio in 2018 from Time. And ever since the telecom company has struggled to handle the studio.
Who owns all of WB’s biggest IPs like DC and Friends?
The newly formed company Warner Bros Discovery holds all the access to the WB properties, the HBO and HBO Max content like Friends, Euphoria, Big Bang Theory, CW Shows and more along with all of Discovery’s projects like Man vs Wild.
What about the upcoming projects and sequels?
Wondering what will happen to Batman‘s sequel? , well that will take some time to be decided. A new regime has taken over from Discovery and they might look into how to restructure all their franchises and then make a decision. All the projects in development now like Aquaman 2 and The Flash will continue with their post-production but no new projects are likely to be announced soon.
So who leads this new Warner Bros Discovery?
A merger results in a lot of key executive changes since there are basically two people for one job. We have got a preview of David Zaslav’s ruthless strategy as he fired Ceo Jason Kilar and Chairman Ann Sarnoff in one week. The duo were responsible for putting their entire film slate of 2021 on HBO Max which resulted not only in huge financial losses but also in talent like Christopher Nolan leaving the studio. Zaslav will now run the whole show.
What to expect?
Well, Discovery has to build a lot of broken bridges. All their top talent has left. if you look over at their top creative crew only The Batman director Matt Reeves has a deal with Warner Bros, people like Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck who used to have overall deals with the studio have left.
So they have to make WB a director-driven studio once again, where people want to work, not a place where toxic work environments are a common occurrence. WB Movie head Toby Emmerich stays for now but it remains to be seen how much power he holds as reports emerge that Netflix head Scott Stuber is being considered for the role.
The only thing untouched will be the HBO side which has done very well with hits like Succession and Euphoria.
What to expect from WBD business-wise?
The endgame of this merger from Discovery is eventually to sell it to a bigger company. In the long term, Discovery is too small to run a massive studio but has the required business acumen to turn around a sinking ship.
Discovery is known to have a strategy to invest very little and earn more instead of making big money bets, so it remains to be seen how they will operate the new Warner Bros Discovery. But one thing is for certain the focus will be on HBO Max becoming a rival to Netflix and Disney Plus.