Driftwood Driftwood

HBO Max has cancelled its direct-to-streaming feature Driftwood, Cartoon Brew has confirmed. The project was announced only three months ago.

Created by Victor Courtright (Aquaman: King of Atlantis, Thundercats Roar), the 90-minute feature was billed as a “an original animated space opera with big laughs, heart and adventure for the entire family.” It was being produced by Cartoon Network Studios, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery.

The film was to have followed the journey of a mouse-like creature named Clover who must defeat the villainous overlord Thorn to save her home from a toxic fuel source. Along the way, Clover would find allies in Marigold and Caspia, and together the three defended the forest on the edge of infinity.

Speaking on background to Cartoon Brew, a representative for Cartoon Network Studios reiterated its excellent artist management team and indicated that it would be working hard to place as many of the crew on other projects as possible.

The news of Driftwood’s cancellation arrives on the heels of last week’s unexpected announcement by HBO Max that it would immediately remove dozens of series from its platform, most of them animated.

Since Warner Bros. and Discovery completed their merger in April of this year, the new company Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has made deep cuts across the company in an effort to reduce its $50+ billion debt load. Key animation and family executives like Tom Ascheim and Allison Abbate have been pushed out, and projects like Warner Animation Group’s Scoob!: Holiday Haunt have been cancelled with no warning.

In WBD’s recent earnings call, the company stated that it would only make big-budget features that it felt were worthy of a theatrical releases and cut back on direct-to-HBO Max films. It also indicated that it would take “course-correction measures” on its kids & animation content. Therefore, Driftwood, which had the unlucky distinction of being a direct-to-HBO Max animated film, would have clearly been in the sightlines of the cost-cutting WBD management.