Warner Bros. Discovery to Write Down Up to $2.5 Billion in Content and Development Costs

Company preps up to $4.3 billion in pre-tax restructuring charges, including $1.1 billion from layoffs

Leslie Grace Batgirl
Leslie Grace in "Batgirl" (Warner Bros.)

Seems the cancellation of the $90 million “Batgirl” movie was only the beginning of Warner Bros. Discovery’s cost-cutting writedowns following its merger last spring.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, WBD reported that it plans to incur between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in write-offs from content and development alone — amid total restructuring costs that it expects to run as high as $4.3 billion.

In addition to content-related writedowns, WBD said it anticipates $800 million to $1.1 billion in costs from severance, retention and relocation of personnel as well as $400 million to $700 million in facility consolidation and contract terminations.

After reporting $1 billion in restructuring costs in the second quarter, the company expects an additional $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion in the quarter just ended. “While the Company’s restructuring efforts are ongoing, including the strategic analysis of content programming which could result in additional impairments above the estimate provided above, the restructuring initiatives are expected to be substantially completed by the end of 2024,” according to the filing.

In addition to the “Batgirl” movie for HBO Max, the company also jettisoned a “Wonder Twins” movie as well as TV shows like JJ Abrams’ sci-fi drama “Demimonde” and TBS’ “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.”

Since completing the $43 billion merger last fall, CEO David Zaslav has promised $3 billion in cost savings. There are additional savings expected from the joining of the HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming services next year, as well as consolidation of office space in New York City.

The company is due to announce its Q3 earnings Nov. 3.