Congress is investigating Warner Bros Discovery under anti-trust laws.
Warner Bros Discovery is in hot water—again—after the United States Congress has called them out on their seemingly clever ‘catch and kill’ strategy. The Department of Justice may reassess the deal between the two corporations, according to The Hollywood Reporter. While lawsuits are nothing new to the company, this doesn’t bode well for them only one year into the $43 billion merger.
While competition in the film industry is always tough, Warner Bros Discovery has been trying to game the system and cut costs by canceling shows they’ve already purchased. Some of the canceled projects include Gordita Chronicles, Demimonde, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Whistleblower. It appears that the company wants to tarnish the reputation of the previously purchased films or TV shows so that no one else will want to purchase it.
Warner Bros Discovery currently has control of so many networks and entertainment groups, like HBO, CNN, the Discovery Channel, and HGTV, to name only a few. With so much control, it’s no wonder that Congress is urging that the Department of Justice should reassess the merger. By having all this control, Warner Bros Discovery could potentially create a monopoly for streaming services.
If the merger stays together, then we could see Warner Bros Discovery pull all of its content from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Discovery+ and put the content exclusively on their own platforms instead. This could also allow the company to charge whatever they want for viewers to access their content.
After their merger cost Warner Bros Discovery a whopping $50 billion, it is understandable why the company is trying to pinch pennies and cut costs where it can. To try and save money, they canceled the Latina-led HBO MAX film Batgirl, which ended up saving them $3.5 billion but caused a lot of criticism. The company also took a write-off for content development, which saved them around another $3 billion.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) are the four Democrats in Congress who have voiced their concerns that the Warner Bros Discovery merger can be harmful to workers and can reduce programming options. With the number of canceled projects, it makes sense that there must not be much job security at Warner Bros Discovery. Going back to the Batgirl cancelation as the most high-profile example, this must have been detrimental to all the cast and crew working hard on this film in its postproduction phase.
Despite the many canceled projects and shady activity from Warner Bros Discovery, the film studio has still released several films this year, including Magic Mike’s Last Dance, Mummies, Creed III, and Shazam! Fury Of The Gods. Later this year, we can expect to see Evil Dead Rise, The Flash, Barbie, and Meg 2: The Trench come to theaters. Looking even farther ahead, we can look forward to a Godzilla Vs. Kong sequel, The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, Twisters, and Minecraft, in 2024.