'Wonder Twins': Why Warner Bros. Canceled the DC Comics Film

TL;DR:

  • In February, Warner Bros. announced a live-action Wonder Twins film heading to HBO Max. KJ Apa and Isabel May later joined as its stars.
  • News broke in May that Warner Bros. canceled the Wonder Twins film, reportedly due to budget concerns and a need for theatrical release.
  • Isabel May recently teased Wonder Twins and how she prepared for the role.

It looks like the Wonder Twins won’t be activating after all. Just a few months after Warner Bros. announced a live-action adaptation of the DC Comics story Wonder Twins for HBO Max — and even found its stars, KJ Apa and Isabel May — the studio canceled the project. And though Warner Bros. itself has yet to comment on the cancelation, inside sources have suggested a few reasons why it fell through.

A live-action ‘Wonder Twins’ film was announced for HBO Max in February

The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Feb. 14 that Black Adam writer Adam Sztykiel would pen and direct an HBO Max movie based on DC Comics’ Wonder Twins, two extraterrestrial siblings named Zan and Jayna. They first appeared in an animated series called The All-New Super Friends Hour and later received their own Super Friends comic. Jayna had the power to become animals, while Zan could become any form of water. They often used the catchphrase, “Wonder Twins, activate!”

Warner Bros. did not share details regarding the plot of the film. In April, news broke that Riverdale star KJ Apa would play Zan, while Yellowstone star Isabel May would play Jayna. Unfortunately, not long after, reports surfaced that the project would not move forward.

Warner Bros. reportedly canceled ‘Wonder Twins’ due to budget concerns and release plans

Another report from The Hollywood Reporter announced on May 18 that Wonder Twins, which would have started filming in July, was canceled. Sources told the publication it had to do with the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger in April, which brought shared ownership of Discovery Channel and HBO, as well as their streaming services and other networks.

The deal included a plan to cut $3 billion in the company’s costs, which likely included Wonder Twins’ hefty budget. It reportedly had a $75 million budget, but Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav wanted HBO Max films to stay under $35 million.Additionally, sources told THR that Zaslav wanted to keep DC Comics films reserved for theatrical-first release rather than going directly to streaming.THR’s report noted:

[Zaslav] has concluded that higher-budgeted offerings do not add enough value, i.e., add a significant number of subscribers, and more modestly budgeted movies seem to do the job of retaining subs. Original theatrical movies, however, do a gangbusters job of attracting subscribers, The Batman being a huge hit for the service, according to several sources.

Isabel May discussed the film in a recent podcast interview

Rumors of Wonder Twins’ cancellation started circulating weeks ago. However, Isabel May spoke confidently about the film during a recent appearance on The Playlist’s The Bingeworthy podcast. She expressed excitement about working with the director and teased that Wonder Twins would differ from Super Friends.

“I love learning about certain characters, so I’ve read all [of the comics]. I know they’re kind of the butt of the joke, sort of thing. But that’s what’s so fun about it, is you can kind of go anywhere with it,” she said. “And so I’ve read all of the comic books that they’re in and even watched the show, and it’s not that, OK? It’s a different era, and we’re kind of doing a different thing.”

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