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Zaslav’s Hamptons-Hollywood Vanity Project

David Zaslav
David Zaslav, President and C.E.O. of Warner Bros. Discovery. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
August 18, 2022

You gotta feel a little bit bad for Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, the new Warner Bros. film studio heads. They’re trying to put together big, “theatrical” projects for a company, Warner Bros. Discovery, that now says it wants to prioritize movies that can make millions in theaters first, and they’ve got a few they are almost ready to greenlight. Ryan Gosling, for instance, has agreed to star with Margot Robbie in the prequel to the Ocean’s movies, one of Warners’ biggest franchises outside of DC and Harry Potter. If deals close, the co-stars of next summer’s Barbie, also at Warners, will reunite with filmmaker Jay Roach, whom De Luca worked with way back on Austin Powers at New Line.

Not bad, right? For film executives, Ocean’s checks many of the “theatricality” boxes: proven I.P.; big stars in their prime; the chance, in success, to do several sequels with different heists, or even a TV spinoff for HBO Max. And with what I’m told will be a much bigger budget than Steven Soderbergh’s Clooney-led Ocean’s movies and the Sandra Bullock spinoff, the new one will feel more theatrical and maybe even summer-worthy, while not costing anywhere near the $200 million Netflix burned on Gosling’s The Gray Man. Win win.