Warner Bros.' merger with Discovery led to many headlines in the past months, and a notable one was Batgirl's cancellation. The studio's abandonment of the said DC film created a domino effect that led to a cancellation spree of several shows from HBO Max.
Aside from the shows, it was also confirmed that DC FanDome has been canceled for this year while also delaying, yet again, the release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
As a result, these questionable moves have earned mixed reactions from fans. Now, a new report revealed another massive change for Warner Bros. Discovery that could change the landscape of the studio again.
Warner Bros. On Sale Again?
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) shared that some Hollywood insiders are expecting that Warner Bros. could be sold again to Comcast in the years ahead. This follows the recent merger of Warner Bros. with Discovery to create Warner Bros. Discovery, a conglomerate deal that only just closed five months back in April.
In the report, the outlet revealed that many industry observers predict Comcast chairman Brian Roberts will soon make a move to combine NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. Discovery.
Although that deal would face some "interesting antitrust issues," it is poised to give NBC scale and a viable streaming service.
An anonymous executive pointed out that there are some "good synergies" with this move, with it even saying that the "endgame" of Warner Bros. Discovery president David Zaslav is to "get the place sold:"
“Obviously Peacock sucks. There are some good synergies. I’m sure [Roberts] is licking his chops because the [WBD] stock is so low. And I think that’s Zaslav’s endgame. Get the place sold.”
THR also shared that Roberts and NBCU CEO Jeff Shell actually met with Zaslav and board member John Malone during the Allen & Co. gathering in Sun Valley last July. However, due to the rules against plotting any combination, it was implied that it was just a friendly get-together.
When asked about this topic, a spokesperson from Warner Bros. Discovery responded by saying:
“We are building Warner Bros. Discovery for the long term.”
For context, in June 2018, Warner Bros. parent company Time Warner was acquired by U.S. telecom company AT&T and has since been renamed WarnerMedia.
On April 8, 2022, AT&T divested WarnerMedia to its shareholders, merging with Discovery Inc. to form Warner Bros. Discovery.
Meanwhile, THR also pointed out that many top industry execs are "so convinced" that a deal will eventually happen that some are "pre-mourning" an event that may never happen:
“People feel like it’s Comcast for sure. It’s going to be so depressing to lose another major studio [after Disney bought Fox]. And Warners was the Tiffany studio.”
On the DC front, the outlet revealed that top filmmakers from the franchise, such as Matt Reeves, Todd Phillips, and Andy Muschietti, will be "shielded" from CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels' approach to eliminating the company's debt.
At this stage, Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, who are currently the leaders of Warner Bros. Film Division, are described to be "talent-friendly" and "decisive," with THR noting that it's a "vast improvement" from when the studio was under AT&T and Jason Kilar:
“From where I sit. it is night and fucking day from before.”
Will This Merger Affect the Quality of DC Films?
At this stage, it is unknown what will happen to DC after this reported new merger that is expected to happen down the line.
This timeline will also clash with the earlier "10-year plan" for DC that Warner Bros. Discovery president David Zaslav mapped out. That said, it remains to be seen how the combined efforts of NBC and Warner Bros. will work in DC's favor.
This report also appears to suggest that Zaslav's reign under Warner Bros. Discovery will be short-term, and this could either be good or bad for the projects that will be made in the future.
For example, if such a move happens in the midst of the development of a certain DC film (similar to what happened to Batgirl), then it poses the risk of being canceled. However, this could be prevented under the right leadership for the studio, which hopefully happens during the future reported merger.
Whatever the case, Warner Bros. still has the power to find what's best for DC and its projects in the future.