After years of tech-driven disruption (remember when a phone company briefly owned Warner Bros.?), David Zaslav has been trying to strike a back-to-basics, business-as-usual tone with anyone who will listen: Wall Street analysts, Hollywood creatives and most recently the crowd of theater owners gathered in Las Vegas at CinemaCon this week.
The Warner Bros. Discovery chief has strongly rejected the streaming-first strategy of his predecessor, Jason Kilar, the Hulu cofounder who advanced day-and-date or HBO Max-only releases for Warner Bros. movies. At CinemaCon, Zaslav promised long theatrical runs for Warner’s slate of new movies like “Barbie” and “The Flash.”
Movies seemed like something of an afterthought at the unveiling of Max, the replacement for HBO Max, this month.