Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav “stars” in a deepfake video released on Friday to promote the studios’ “new process we call shelving.”
Zaslav has been dragged across the industry for his now-reversed Nov. 9 decision to shelve the already completed “Coyote Vs. Acme.” After significant backlash, and a call from Texas congressman Joaquin Castro for an FTC investigation into the practice, the movie will now be shopped to other studios.
“Myself and the people ruining… running, people running Warner Bros. love movies,” the CGI CEO beams in the clip. “Movies are one of my favorite forms of content.”
The parody is from “Jimmy Kimmel Live! “writer and director Jacob Reed, the same man behind the plane that flew over the studios with the message, “Pay your writers, you AI-holes” during the writers’ strike.
The faux Zaslav then mangles the first of several classic movie quotes, botching Rhett Butler’s famous last line in “Gone With the Wind,” “Frank, my dear, I do give a damn.” After grinning about reducing the unnecessarily expensive steps of making movies, including releasing them, he misquotes “Gordon Geico” — Michael Douglas’ character from “Wall Street” — “This way, we get more money. And money is good.”
The video also has “Zas” referring to the writers’ strike as a “five-month spending freeze on our writing phase,” before introducing “a new process we call shelving,” which lets the studio make money through tax write-offs instead of releasing them. “How do you like an apple like that?” he grins, botching a classic line from “Good Will Hunting.”
The ersatz Zaslav promises to keep consumers guessing about which movies will be released, which will be shelved and “which will be released for years and then suddenly and inexplicably disappear from our streaming platforms.”
He then claims to be inspired by WB heroes like “the Brave Batman” — with a cut to Leslie Grace in costume as Batgirl in the never-to-be-released live-action movie. He also praises “the determined Agent Smith,” one of the main villains in the “Matrix” franchise.
Zaslav alienated both consumers and creatives during the strike with statements like calling the WGA’s demands “unrealistic.” When he spoke at at the Boston University graduation in May just after the writers’ strike began, students booed and shouted, “Pay your writers.”
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