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    Warner Bros. Discovery

    Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler as Vada and Mia, The Fallout
    Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler as Vada and Mia, The Fallout


    Considering the quality, quantity, and diversity of films distributed under Warner Bros. Discovery and its labels, GLAAD has given Warner Bros. Discovery an INSUFFICIENT grade

    In theatrical releases, LGBTQ representation was minimal in most films, with small moments in Elvis and DC’s League of Super-Pets including blink-and-you’ll-miss it LGBTQ inclusion. The Batman included a very ambiguous interpretation of Selina Kyle, and could have easily confirmed her bisexuality to easily center LGBTQ representation, but failed to do so. Unfortunately, the theatrical film with the most LGBTQ inclusion was Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which – despite its inclusion of gay characters – elevates and funds the voice of JK Rowling, who routinely spreads dangerous misinformation about transgender people. 

    In Warner Bros.’ streaming catalog on Max, there was much more inclusion present. From the teen queer characters in drama The Fallout, to inclusion in documentaries such as Call Me Miss Cleo and Santa Camp, these films center diverse LGBTQ stories. There is, however, room for improvement in romantic comedies like Moonshot and Father of the Bride, where casual inclusion was present but minimal. 

    Overall, GLAAD hopes to see Warner Bros. Discovery give the greenlight to LGBTQ-centric theatrically released films at the same level it has for streaming. This is especially notable when it comes to the DC properties, where there are several queer characters in the comics and beyond that have yet to make it to the big screen. It’s also worth noting that Batgirl was one of this report’s highly anticipated DC films for its trans inclusion and it is immensely disheartening for that film to get shelved while less inclusive films make it to theaters.


    Founded by four Polish immigrant brothers as a movie theater business in the early 1900s, Warner Bros. evolved into a film production studio in 1923. Warner Bros. merged with Discovery, Inc. to form Warner Bros. Discovery in April 2022. In February 2023, Warner Bros. amended its initial plan to merge Discovery+ with HBO Max, now known as Max. As a result, Max will include “most” Discovery content and Discovery+ will remain an operational stand-alone streaming service. Warner Bros. has produced several acclaimed films, including Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange, Goodfellas, the blockbuster Harry Potter franchise, and multiple DC Comics adaptations. 

    One of Warner Bros. most infamous films, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), featured Sal Mineo as the tragic character Plato, one of film’s earliest recognizable gay-coded characters. In the decades since, the studio has released several LGBTQ inclusive films, such as Dog Day Afternoon (1975), The Color Purple (1985), Interview with the Vampire (1994), and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997); nearly all of which were based on external source material that included LGBTQ characters. Notably, many Warner Bros. films in the 2010s featured an abundance of unwarranted gay panic jokes and other cheap punchlines, seen in films such as Get Hard (2015), Central Intelligence (2016), and CHiPs (2017). More positive recent LGBTQ-inclusive releases from Warner Bros. include Alexander (2004), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), V For Vendetta (2005), J. Edgar (2011), Tammy (2014), Storks (2016), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Isn’t It Romantic (2019) and Birds of Prey (2020), In the Heights (2021) and more. Max’s previous LGBTQ-inclusive films include GLAAD Media Award nominees La Layenda Nedra (2020) and Unpregnant (2020), as well as the documentaries LFG (2021) and Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground (2021).



    5 WERE MAX

    Considering the quality, quantity, and diversity of films distributed under Warner Bros. Discovery and its labels, GLAAD has given Warner Bros. Discovery an INSUFFICIENT grade.


    The Batman

    Widest Release: 4,417 theaters

    Vito Russo Test: FAIL

    This new iteration of Batman includes his infamous foil Catwoman/Selina Kyle. In many iterations of this character, including comic book and TV appearances, Selina is portrayed as bisexual. In this film, there are hints of her sexuality, such as Selina on the phone calling another woman “baby” and at one point, caressing her face. However, later in the film Selina refers to the other woman as her friend and spends most of the movie exploring a sexual and romantic relationship with Batman. If this film had taken this storyline only a minute step forward to confirm Selina’s bisexuality, it could have been groundbreaking for big screen representation. Instead, Selina’s sexual orientation and relationship with the other woman was left ambiguous. Selina’s relationship with Batman was a central point of the film, but confirming Selina as bisexual wouldn’t have taken away from that important relationship.

    Black Adam

    Widest Release: 4,402 theaters

    Vito Russo Test: FAIL

    This new film in the world of DC heroes included Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone. Though Swindell is transgender and nonbinary, and uses they/he pronouns, Cyclone was never identified through any use of pronouns. Black Adam had an exciting opportunity to casually include a nonbinary hero, but unfortunately, the potential was unused. 

    DC’s League of Super-Pets

    Widest Release: 4,332 theaters

    Vito Russo Test: FAIL

    This animated film follows the pets of popular DC superheroes. In a scene early on in the movie, protagonist Krypto, Superman’s dog, is talking about how he gets kicked out of bed whenever Superman has his girlfriend Lois Lane over. Another dog at the park says the same thing happened to him when his owner got engaged. We quickly see the dog’s owner and her fiance, both of whom are women. This was a very small moment of inclusion for the film, yet a casual acknowledgement that queer people exist in this universe. 


    Widest Release: 3,932 theaters

    Vito Russo Test: FAIL

    This biopic of the infamous singer tells the story of Elvis Presley’s rise and fall at the hands of his manager Colonel Tom Parker. Early on in the film, there are several scenes that show Elvis’ effect on women when he does his signature hip-shaking. In one scene, we see glimpses of a young man who is equally affected. He is seen later as well, eyes glued to the TV in his home, with the same attraction to Elvis as the girls. Though this inclusion is brief and wordless, it is important to note that it wasn’t only women who fell under Elvis’ spell. That said, it would have been exciting to see more from this character. Additionally, the film included an appearance by Little Richard, a real life figure whose self-identification has changed over the years. After calling himself gay at one point, he later turned to the church and insisted on his heterosexuality. Given this, he was not counted here.

    Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

    Widest Release: 4,245 theaters

    Vito Russo Test: PASS

    Warner Bros - Fantastic Beasts_ The Secrets of DumbledoreThe third film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise delves into the history of the relationship between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, with Dumbledore explicitly acknowledging his previous love for Grindelwald within the first five minutes of the film. The story takes place long after their relationship has ended and sets up Dumbledore as a hero on the side of good and Gridelwald as pure evil set to destroy the muggle world. The only time the two physically touch is in battle, when they put their hands on each other’s hearts and put down their wands, breaking a magical pact they had made as lovers never to harm one another. The film ends with a straight couple getting married and Dumbledore watching from the outside, alone. 

    The Secrets of Dumbledore feeds into an oversimplification that gay characters have to be perfect or completely evil. Additionally, both men end up alone, as opposed to the straight characters in the film who have ongoing happy relationships. It’s an improvement over the past films in the franchise to have such explicit acknowledgement of this central relationship, yet it still leaves much to be desired. While it was initially announced that Fantastic Beasts would be a five film series, it has been recently reported that no work has currently been done around a fourth script and it remains unclear whether there will be any future films in the franchise.

    More so than simply content, this film marks the third film in this franchise with a script by JK Rowling. For the last several years, Rowling has doubled down on her hateful and offensive remarks about the transgender community, using her massive public platform to spread dangerous misinformation about one of our most vulnerable communities, which leads to direct harm. Putting gay men in her films does not mitigate the immeasurable damage she’s done to trans people, and it is shameful that Warner Bros. Discovery continues to work with her.

    Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in 2022 that he is open to continuing to work with Rowling and in April 2023, a Potter streaming series was announced to be in production for Max.

    MAX (known as HBO Max prior to May 2023)

    Call Me Miss Cleo

    Straight to Streaming Release

    Vito Russo Test: PASS

    Warner Bros - Call Me Miss CleoThis documentary about the famous TV psychic Miss Cleo portrays her relationship with her lover, Lou, another woman. Matt Sheridan, a trans man who was with Cleo before he transitioned, is also interviewed. Cleo is shown hosting Pride events and pivoting to focus on LGBTQ advocacy later on in her life. The film includes extensive interviews with out celebrity Raven-Symoné, who discusses Cleo’s impact as a personality and as a member of the community. Other cameos by queer celebrities include Anderson Cooper, RuPaul and Matt Rogers. Overall, the film painted a full portrait of Miss Cleo including her queerness, which was wonderful to see in such a high profile documentary. 


    The Fallout

    Straight to Streaming Release

    Vito Russo Test: PASS

    Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler as Vada and Mia, The FalloutThis GLAAD Media Award-nominated drama follows Vada, a teen girl who survives a shooting at her high school, and explores how the tragedy affects her and her peers. During the shooting itself, Vada is trapped in a bathroom with two other students, Mia and Quinton, the latter of whose brother dies in the shooting. Though Mia, a dance influencer, is not friends with Vada at the start, the two grow closer over the course of the film bonded by their shared trauma. They drink and partake in drugs together while Mia’s two dads are out of town. During one of those nights, they start kissing and sleep together, a first for both of them. Vada doesn’t want to ruin their friendship by pursuing anything more, but both girls say they don’t regret it. Vada later tries to kiss Quinton, but he says he’s not ready for a relationship. The film shows these kids seeking out connection for their mental health when no one else understands what they’ve been through. Vada and Mia’s queerness isn’t represented as part of their trauma, simply as a facet of their identity. The film even includes a coming out scene when Vada tells her mom that she slept with a girl and not a boy and her mom accepts this. Vada’s friend Nick, who is gay, is also shown in the beginning of the film, but then he and Vada drift apart as he embraces activism after the shooting while she does not. The Fallout is a realistic portrait of Gen Z and the devastating effects of gun violence in schools. Showing so many characters, including the protagonist, as queer helps cement the realism of the story and the truth of these young survivors. 

    Father of the Bride

    Straight to Streaming Release

    Vito Russo Test: PASS

    Warner Bros - Father of the BrideThis second remake of 1950 and 1991’s Father of the Bride focuses on the Herrera family and their daughter Sofia’s wedding which her father, Billy, has doubts about. The other Herrera daughter is Cora, a fashion designer who is fired from her job early on in the movie for making a jumpsuit for a girl’s Quinceañera instead of a dress. During the wedding planning, Cora gets along with one of Sofia’s bridesmaids, Vanessa, as the two are seen talking together and then dancing at the wedding. Also at the wedding, Billy tells Cora, “I like her” about Vanessa, implying Vanessa as a romantic interest. Though it was a nice small bit of casual inclusion and good to see Cora’s family happy for her, the film could have been much more explicit and forthcoming about Cora and Vanessa’s romance and painted it in a clearer light. 


    Straight to Streaming Release

    Vito Russo Test: FAIL

    This space-set romantic comedy follows Walt and Sophie as they go to Mars to find their supposed loves, while actually falling in love with each other. There is a minor queer couple on their ship, Celeste and Tabby. At the beginning of the film, Tabby wants to get engaged, but Celeste is hesitant. However, over the course of the film, Celeste is inspired to propose to Tabby and the two are joyously engaged. Later, they throw an engagement party on the ship, which then turns into a birthday party for Sophie. Celeste and Tabby are a very small part of the film, simply existing as passengers on the ship. Their party for a queer relationship turning into a celebration of the straight main character is a fitting analogy for their role in this movie. However, it was still a nice piece of casual inclusion to have a lesbian couple aboard the ship. 

    Santa Camp

    Straight to Streaming Release

    Vito Russo Test: PASS

    Warner Bros - Santa CampThis documentary follows the New England Santa Society’s training camp and delves into attempts to diversify Santa Claus’ image. The film follows Fin, who has spina bifida, Levi, a trans man, and Chris, who is Black, among others. Chris talks about his mom, a lesbian who we later see with her partner. Levi is married to Heidi, who describes herself as queer. Levi speaks at length about how important it is for kids to see a trans Santa and the film shows this in action when Ally, a kid who uses they/them pronouns, asks Trans Santa (Levi) for a binder for Christmas and Levi tells them how important his own binder was. The film also highlights the backlash against both Chris and Levi, with groups protesting Levi’s event for queer youth. Some of the attempts from the Santa Society to be inclusive missed the mark, but overall, the documentary shone a light on Levi’s voice and spoke to the importance of trans inclusion from a trans person himself.


    Warner Bros. Discovery has plenty of projects slated that could and should include LGBTQ characters and stories. December 2023 will see the big screen release of The Color Purple based on the Broadway musical. The original novel and the musical both showcase a queer romance between lead characters Celie and Shug Avery. While the previous 1985 film adaptation didn’t portray their romance, this one, being based on the musical, should put it front and center. Kenya Barris is making a remake of The Wizard of Oz and has promised LGBTQ representation in the timeless classic that is beloved by the queer community. There are multiple sequels in the works for the wildly popular Crazy Rich Asians film. These films have the chance to expand the role of gay character Oliver from the first film into a more substantial role in the sequels. 

    There are several sequels and continuations of DC films planned that have the opportunity to expand and introduce queer characters. The Batman: Part II is planned for October 2025, and could easily confirm Catwoman’s sexuality as opposed to skirting around it. Joker: Folie á Deux will introduce Lady Gaga’s Harley Quinn. Harley is famously bisexual in the comics, her TV show, and previous DC film Birds of Prey. Having a notable bi celebrity like Lady Gaga playing this infamous character is all the more reason for her bisexuality to be a part of her character. WB also has Static Shock in development, which includes gay character Rick Stone in the comics and should be featured in any film adaptation. 

    Max announced the film Camp in 2021 that would be directed by Billy Porter and follow the campers at a camp for queer teens. Though there has been no news about this project since its announcement, we sincerely hope this film comes to fruition. Max also will be releasing The Parenting, a horror-comedy twist on Meet the Parents where a gay couple meeting each other’s parents encounter a centuries old evil entity. The streamer has the rights to Am I Okay?, the Sundance hit directed by out wives Stephanie Allyne and Tig Notaro, about a woman who realizes she is a lesbian in her 30s. 

    There are also several films picked up by the streamer that promise to be inclusive, but haven’t had an update in years, such as We Were There, Too, following queer youth of color in Chicago in the ‘80s, and lesbian romantic comedy When Katie Met Cassidy.

    In the past, GLAAD had counted films released theatrically by the distributor Warner Bros. Pictures in this report. This year, GLAAD will continue to count theatrical films from Warner Bros., as well as films released by Warner’s Bros. Discovery’s streamer Max (known as HBO Max before May 2023).

    Summary of 2022 Findings


    Total films released in 2022 under studio and official imprints


    Total number of LGBTQ-inclusive films


    Percent of LGBTQ-inclusive films of studio total releases


    Number of films that pass the Vito Russo Test



    Total theatrical films released in 2022 under studio and official imprints


    Total number of theatrical LGBTQ inclusive films


    Percent of theatrical LGBTQ-inclusive films of studio theatrical releases


    Number of theatrical films that pass the Vito Russo Test



    Total streaming only films released in 2022 under studio and official imprints


    Total number of streaming LGBTQ inclusive films


    Percent of LGBTQ-inclusive of studio total streaming releases


    Number of streaming films that pass the Vito Russo Test



































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