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DC’s Wonder Twins movie deactivated

Reportedly deemed too expensive for HBO Max, too niche for theaters

The Wonder Twins, teen superhero siblings, bump fists against a backdrop of high school lockers Image: Stephen Byrne/DC Comics
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

A planned movie about DC comics characters the Wonder Twins has been shelved, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The film had been due to go into production in July, according to THR’s sources, with Riverdale’s KJ Apa and 1883’s Isabel May starring as Zan and Jayna, the teen alien siblings with strange powers which they activate by touching each other. (Zan can turn into water in any state, and Jayna can become any animal.) The film was intended to go straight to streaming on HBO Max.

Insiders told THR that the film fell foul of two new rules imposed by the new leadership at the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery media conglomerate. The first was that films based on DC comics characters should all be aiming for theatrical releases. This is consistent with Puck’s reporting that this year’s Batgirl film might be headed to theaters after all, after being earmarked for an HBO Max debut. But Wonder Twins was thought too “niche” for this option.

The second rule is that HBO Max original movies should keep to a production budget of around $35 million, while the Wonder Twins film was headed for a $75 million budget. That’s deemed too expensive for the task of simply retaining subscribers, when big-budget cinema releases like The Batman can be relied on to still make a big splash on HBO Max after their theatrical window is up.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that incoming Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is cleaning house at the studio, questioning decision-making, and canning costly productions without prejudice. Zaslav closed the CNN Plus streaming service after just one month of operation. This report attributed the axing of the Wonder Twins film directly to him.

The decision may sound ruthless, but it’s hard to disagree that the Wonder Twins are esoteric characters. They were first created for the 1970s animated TV series The All-New Super Friends Hour, and weren’t introduced into the DC Comics universe until the mid-’90s. Wonder Twins was due to be written and directed by Adam Sztykiel, who has a script credit on this year’s Dwayne Johnson-starring DC movie Black Adam.