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HBO Max Cancels ‘Driftwood’ Three Months After Being Greenlit

The animated feature gets the axe as part of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslov’s mission to cut $3 billion in costs; executives Tom Ascheim and Allison Abbate among staffers let go in the cost-cutting effort.

Another one? Ouch! Yesterday’s news that HBO Max just cancelled the animated feature Driftwood comes during a week where scores of family friendly entertainment projects have met the chopping block, reports Variety.  The streamer dropped over 40 series and films, including Scoob! Holiday Haunt, Little Ellen, and Infinity Train, as well as the hoped to be tentpole DC action adventure and reportedly completed Batgirl, to name just a few.

Yesterday also saw the HBO Max cancelation of Batman: Caped Crusader, a high-profile animated series from Bruce Timm, J.J. Abrams, and Matt Reeves. According to Deadline, the series is one of a group of six animated projects not moving forward at the streamer that also includes the family action comedy Merry Little Batman, The Day the Earth Blew Up: A Looney Toons Movie, Bye Bye Bunny: A Looney Toons Musical, Did I Do That to the Holidays: A Steve Urkel Story, and The Amazing World of Gumball: The Movie (working title).

Warner Bros. and Discovery finalized their merger in April, and CEO David Zaslav of the newly christened Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is resolute in his mission to cut $3 billion in costs.  In addition to removing content, the company axed 70 HBO and HBO Max staffers, along with WBD animation executives Tom Ascheim and Allison Abbate. An HBO Max spokesperson stated to Variety last month “Live-action kids and family programming will not be part of our programming focus in the immediate future.”

Just three months ago, HBO Max and Cartoon Network greenlit two Cartoon Network Studios’ projects: Driftwood, a 90-minute animated space adventure family movie from executive producer/creator Victor Courtright (Aquaman: King of Atlantis) and Invincible Fight Girl, a half-hour action-comedy series from first time executive producer and creator Juston Gordon-Montgomery (DC Super Hero Girls).

In response to the cancellation, Finnjamin Button, a Cartoon Network production manager tweeted, “Working on this was such a treat.  The whole crew is amazing and we all were so excited to share this.  Now, I’m just heartbroken that no one will see more than this poster.”

Driftwood was set in a future where civilization was dependent on a toxic fuel source and ruled over by an evil organization. Clover, a small mouse-like creature, sets out in search of society’s last free city—Driftwood, which may hold the answer to sustainable fuel, and the galaxy’s future.  

Whitney Whitener's picture

Whitney is a freelance writer focusing on VFX-driven fantasy film & TV as well as preschool animation.