We knew this one was coming, but it still hurts — Batman: Caped Crusader is not going forward at HBO Max (per Variety).
The program was one of the most intriguing to be announced during HBO Max’s brief moment as a content king. Featuring the combined talents of The Batman director Matt Reeves, J.J. Abrams, and Batman: The Animated Series legend Bruce Timm, the series was meant to “tell engrossing new stories in Gotham City … The series will be thrilling, cinematic and evocative of Batman’s noir roots, while diving deeper into the psychology of these iconic characters.” Subsequently, Ed Brubaker joined the team as head writer.
But as Caped Crusader is a family program, just like Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series before it, it no longer aligns with the Warner Bros. Discovery corporate strategy and, thus, has been axed as an HBO Max original series. Nevertheless, the show may go on as Warner Bros. Animation Group intends to produce the show and shop it to another outlet.
Additionally, HBO Max pulled the plug on five other family-oriented animated projects: Merry Little Batman, The Day the Earth Blew Up: A Looney Tunes Movie, Bye Bye Bunny: A Looney Tunes Musical, Did I Do That to The Holidays: A Steve Urkel Story and The Amazing World of Gumball: The Movie. Like Caped Crusader, WAG will continue to produce each in the hopes of finding a new way to release them.
WBD’s continuing efforts to divest itself of family programing is becoming an increasing concern online following several animated shows entering the tax-break black hole last week and the removal of 200 classic Sesame Street episodes from HBO Max. Additionally, it goes against the modern corporate philosophy of hooking viewers to a brand while they are young and offering them products within that brand throughout their lives. Time will tell if this strategy will work out for the new version of Warner Bros. But we have to admit that it seems strangely short-sighted to us.