It’s learned that both Batman and Lord of the Rings are getting licensed out by Warner Bros. Discovery.
In a shift from the previous administration, Warner Bros. Discovery and CEO David Zaslav have made it clear they are open to licensing their IPS, which is a contrast to when Jason Kilar ran things at HBO Max.
“We have a ton of content that has been sitting idly for just purely principle reasons,” WBD CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said at a Bank of America event on Sept. 8 (via THR). “The Lord of the Rings is a great [example]: It is a nonexclusive window [and] we look at it as what we are giving up versus what additional revenue we are generating,” the CFO added, noting that “there are positive knock-on effects on our own platforms as well.”
Basically what is going on is that the number of new subscribers doesn’t warrant keeping various IPs exclusive to HBO Max.
So in the case of Lord of the Rings, the movies that were exclusive to HBO Max aren’t bringing in new subscribers (and probably aren’t being watched much) so when Amazon contacted Warner Bros. Discovery to release the Lord of the Rings movies on Amazon to promote the release of Rings of Power, WBD said ‘hey, why not, we can make some money,’ and agreed to do so.
Regarding Batman, the J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves Batman: Caped Crusader animated series was recently canceled at HBO Max (along with lots of other animated projects), but it is being shopped around to other streamers with Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu said to be the big contenders.
Again, something like the Batman: Caped Crusader animated series doesn’t seem to be a big draw to bring in subscribers to HBO Max so WBD decided to license it out to other streamers where apparently they think they can make more money (why not do that with Batgirl?).
Warner Bros. licensing out DC Comics characters to Todd McFarlane, too
The thought isn’t entirely without reason as Disney’s big Marvel and Star Wars IPs are doing nothing to bolster the Disney Plus subscribership, according to Wall Street analysts and industry analytic companies (the low-quality content isn’t helping, either).
This isn’t the first time Warner Bros. actually has licensed things out as the MO for its shows on The CW was to create low-budget shows and license them out where they made billions in streaming rights which included DC series such as The Flash, Arrow, etc.
Warner Bros. is also licensing out some of its DC Comics characters to Todd McFarlane as part of his McFarlane Toys line and McFarlane is also doing a new Batman/Spawn comic book crossover.