David Zaslav is shedding no tears over “Cry Macho.”
The Clint Eastwood vehicle grossed approximately $15.5 million worldwide upon release, despite a budget of $33 million, and new CEO Zaslav challenged why the film was even made in the first place.
Zaslav questioned studio heads why “Cry Macho” was funded if Warner Bros. knew it wouldn’t be profitable. “Cry Macho” stars Eastwood as a former rodeo star turned horse breeder who is hired to bring a teenager back to his family. Oscar winner Eastwood also directed the neo-Western, which doubles as a tender road-trip movie as Eastwood’s character bonds with the kid as they journey across Mexico.
Per The Wall Street Journal, Warner Bros. told Zaslav that they felt indebted to Eastwood because of his 50-plus year relationship with the studio and Eastwood’s consistent ability to deliver films under budget and on time.
Zaslav then reportedly quoted a famous line from “Jerry Maguire,” saying, “It’s not show friends, it’s show business.”
Zaslav, or “Zas” as industry insiders nicknamed him, pulled the plug on streamer CNN+ shortly after its debut and also scrapped upcoming HBO Max DC film “The Wonder Twins” starring KJ Apa and Isabel May.
Upon taking over Warner Bros. under the Discovery merger, Zaslav pledged to cut approximately $3 billion in costs; “Wonder Twins” had a $75 million budget.
“We are not trying to win the direct-to-consumer spending war,” Zaslav explained during the April earnings call, before Chief Financial Officer Gunnar Wiedenfels added, “We intend to drive the highest level of financial discipline here.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Warner Bros. will be focusing on an increased amount of theatrical releases, with 20 to 25 films per year. Theatrical releases also perform better on HBO Max than movies made exclusively for the streamer, per a source.