(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) Several Democrat lawmakers requested that Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice designate resources, money and manpower to investigating the sudden cancellation of the Batgirl movie.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washinton, Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas and Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island sent a formal letter to the attorney general and Jonathan Kanter, the DOJ’s antitrust chief, pleading with the officials to look into the alleged limitation of “consumer and worker choice” by Warner Bros Discovery, the Post Millennial reported.
“We respectfully urge the Justice Department to investigate the state of competition in affected labor and consumer markets,” the letter said, referring to the merger between Warner Bros and Discovery+. “[It] appears to have enabled Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) to adopt potentially anticompetitive practices that reduce consumer choice and harm workers in affected labor markets.”
Last year, Warner Bros—along with several other companies, such as CNN—merged with Discovery+, resulting in the cuts of many newly acquired projects. CNN+ and Batgirl both faced the chopping block.
The legislator’s letter mentioned the superhero flick specifically, along with several other shows the platform refused to re-license.
“Following the merger, WBD announced numerous labor-force reductions and product cancellations that would limit consumer and worker choice—cancelling several titles, including ‘Batgirl,’ which was deep into post-production, ‘Gordita Chronicles,’ ‘Demimonde,’ and ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife,'” the lawmakers wrote.
The letter continued, noting their concern for the “iconic” studio.
“WBD’s new ownership is hollowing out an iconic American studio,” the letter read. “After the merger was consummated, WBD cancelled many projects in various stages of development and removed content from its platforms. For example, WBD took 68 titles off HBO Max.”
WBD executives shelved the Batgirl film in August 2022 after a series of “disastrous” test screenings, so the studio made the executive decision to “cut its losses and run, for the sake of the brand’s future.”