Yesterday, there was blood in the water at Warner Bros., and two more movies were canceled thanks to the acquisition by Discovery. It was only a matter of time, but people weren't expecting the ax to fall on productions that were nearly complete. Many people were speculating and talking about the cancelation of Batgirl, which has been trying to get made in some form for many years and just keeps getting knocked down. However, there was another movie that was canceled that was nearly complete, and that was Scoob! Holiday Haunt. While the Batgirl cancelation is baffling, in some ways, the cancelation of the Scoob! sequel makes even less sense. Co-writer Paul Dini took to social media and expressed how confused he was that the movie also got the ax.
The thing that makes the Scoob! Holiday Haunt cancelation even more fascinating than the Batgirl cancelation is the circumstances under which Scoob! itself was released. In April 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Universal took the plunge and released Trolls World Tour as a PVOD release when it was supposed to be a theatrical release. Before that, a few studios had released movies early to streaming or VOD like Disney or Warner Bros., but no one had taken a theatrical release and made it a PVOD offering, entirely skipping the theater. It did well for Universal, and a month later, on May 15th, Warner Bros. took a similar risk and released Scoob! as a PVOD film.
It didn't do as well as Trolls World Tour, but it was the top-rented film on Amazon Prime, Google Play, FandangoNow, Spectrum, and iTunes during its opening weekend. It stayed at number one for the second weekend of release on all of the services and stayed at number one on three of the four services. By weekend four, it was number one on FandangoNow, second on Amazon Prime, and fourth on iTunes. A price dip in the fifth week from $19.99 to $15.99 revived things a little, and in October of 2020, The Hollywood Reporter said Scoob! was the third most popular PVOD title of the pandemic behind Mulan and Trolls World Tour. The fact that it was the third best PVOD offering of the pandemic with a short PVOD window, May 15th to June 25th, is quite impressive. While not a critical smash, it did well enough that a sequel was confirmed in June of 2021.
Something that Scoob! has that Batgirl doesn't are hard numbers to point out that even if they cannot prove they have a theatrical audience, it's hard to argue how the movie would have done without the pandemic and what the $27.1 million at the box office actually means in terms of success. However, this movie has proof that they have a PVOD audience and a streaming audience. They have charts and numbers to point to that there is an audience for the film that exists, it is right there, and it is an audience willing and able to watch the movie at home if they want to. So why cancel the film? Why not let it stream to HBO Max, where they know they have an audience that has already said they are willing to watch a Scoob! movie on streaming? One could argue about whether or not DC movies actually have an audience considering how up and down they have been in financial performance and quality. Still, the numbers don't lie for Scoob! and the fact that a company like Warner Bros. is willing to just ignore those numbers is a baffling decision.
More information about why Warner Bros. made this decision and the various reactions to all of it will likely continue to come out. But it is interesting to see a studio with its own streaming service that can quietly release a movie without putting any additional promo or marketing behind it if it doesn't want to [looking at you, Netflix], that appears to have proof that there is an audience for its movie that would watch it on streaming, not put it on its streaming service.
In Scooby-Doo's greatest adventure yet, see the never-before told story of how lifelong friends Scooby and Shaggy first met and how they joined forces with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form the famous Mystery Inc. Now, with hundreds of cases solved, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, toughest mystery ever: an evil plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global "dogpocalypse," the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone ever imagined. The first full-length animated Scooby-Doo adventure for the big screen is the never-before told stories of Scooby-Doo's origins and the greatest mystery in the career of Mystery Inc. SCOOB! reveals how lifelong friends Scooby and Shaggy first met and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form the famous Mystery Inc. Now, with hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global "dogpocalypse," the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined.
Starring in SCOOB! are Will Forte ("Booksmart," TV's "The Last Man on Earth") as Scooby-Doo's best friend, Shaggy; two-time Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg ("The Fighter," "The Departed") as Blue Falcon; Jason Isaacs (the "Harry Potter" films, TV's "The OA") as the infamous Dick Dastardly; Gina Rodriguez ("Deepwater Horizon," TV's "Jane the Virgin") as Velma; Zac Efron ("The Greatest Showman," the "Neighbors" franchise) as Fred; Amanda Seyfried (the "Mamma Mia!" films, "Ted 2") as Daphne; Kiersey Clemons ("Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising," TV's "Angie Tribeca") as Falcon Fury pilot Dee Dee Skyes; Ken Jeong ("Crazy Rich Asians," "The Hangover" trilogy) as the Falcon Force's Dynomutt; Tracy Morgan ("What Men Want," TV's "30 Rock") as Captain Caveman; Simon Cowell ("American Idol," "The X Factor") as himself; and Frank Welker (the "Transformers" franchise) as Scooby-Doo. It was released on May 15th, 2020.