WB Boss Reportedly Mad At Reason Clint Eastwood’s New Movie Was Made
Warner Bros. Discovery’s new CEO David Zaslav was reportedly angry over the reason that the studio backed Clint Eastwood’s latest film, Cry Macho. Zaslav only recently took over as CEO of the renowned studio and one of the first items on his to-do list was to find out why a string of recent box office failures were ever greenlit in the first place. For Eastwood’s part, all four of the Oscars that he’s won over the years have been as a director and not an actor.
Yet even with Eastwood’s highly successful transition from actor to filmmaker, his last two films have failed to turn a profit. This is a particularly big deal for someone of Eastwood’s stature, marking a significant turn from the early 2000’s, which were arguably the heyday of his directorial career. Now at the age of 91, Eastwood has been a major part of Hollywood for decades now. His rise to fame as an actor received a considerable boost from his early work with famed Italian director Sergio Leone. Together they made three films in the Spaghetti Western genre, the likes of which are considered classics today. However, in 1971, Eastwood took his first steps as a filmmaker with the thriller Play Misty for Me, ultimately delivering his own western, High Plains Drifter, in 1973.
And while Eastwood’s status as a Hollywood icon remains quite firmly intact, the recent changing of the guard at Warner Bros. Discovery promises new priorities for the studio. As The Wall Street Journal reports, during his first meeting with Warner executives, CEO David Zaslav apparently wasted no time in getting to the bottom of some important issues. One such issue came after executives admitted that they didn’t think that Cry Macho would turn a profit. Zaslav asked why the film was greenlit if there were reservations about its chances for success, only to be told that Eastwood always delivered his films on time and under budget. This didn’t sit well with Zaslav, who responded, “We don’t owe anyone any favors. It’s not show friends, it’s show business.”
Cry Macho was released in September of 2021 and generally failed to make any sort of impact. Most critics found the film uneventful and slow-moving, with audiences only slightly more receptive to it. Based on the 1975 novel of the same name, Cry Macho follows former rodeo star Mike Milo (Eastwood) on a journey to reunite a young boy with his father. It’s hardly surprising that Zaslav would take issue with backing a film that wasn’t expected to deliver much of a return. It’s clearly not the right direction for any studio that wants to find success in such a deeply competitive industry.
Zaslav’s apparent anger over Cry Macho also illustrates how he’s pushing to create something new at Warner Bros. Discovery. For decades, Eastwood has been known as a filmmaker who does only one take, bringing his films in on time and under budget. However, times change and Eastwood’s iconic status is no guarantee that he can still provide audiences with something they’ll be eager to see. The fact that Zaslav recognizes this is a sign that he’s ready to bring in a new era at the studio, the likes of which could very well spell the end of a creative partnership with Eastwood.