COVID-19 may have changed the way we watch movies forever. With audiences unable or unwilling to congregate in busy enclosed spaces, nearly all studios are moving their films online now and Warner Bros., in particular, are going all-in with HBO Max.
In 2021, the streaming service will premiere the studio’s biggest blockbusters on the day of their theatrical release, meaning we can enjoy movies like The Matrix 4, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and The Suicide Squad without leaving the comfort of our homes. We’re also getting a nice lineup of original content, too, with the obvious highlight being the long-awaited Snyder cut of Justice League, which looks set to land in March.
But now it appears that Warner Bros. is going even further than that and are planning new feature-length superhero movies that’ll skip theaters altogether and be exclusive to the platform. A recent New York Times profile of DC Films president Walter Hamada discusses the future of their output, mentioning HBO Max premiering movies “focused on riskier characters like Batgirl and Static Shock.”
A Batgirl pic has been on the cards for some time, of course, with Joss Whedon dropping out of the project and Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson taking over in 2018. Since then, we haven’t heard much, but it’s likely Warner Bros. are still working out whether it should be a DCEU movie or in the same continuity as Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
Unfortunately, we know even less about Static Shock, save that the fan favorite superhero (whose adventures were the subject of a popular cartoon in the early 2000s) has a film in development with Michael B. Jordan producing.
Of course, one risky element is that these ‘made-for-TV’ superhero movies could be seen as somehow ‘lesser’ than major theatrical releases. Still, in a world where Netflix Originals don’t carry such a stigma and streaming content is better than it’s ever been before, they might be big hits. In any case, if Warner Bros. do go ahead with these plans, Batgirl and Static Shock will become jewels in the HBO Max crown, though they could also hammer in the last nails of the multiplex’s coffin.