UPDATE: A new report from Variety (opens in new tab) suggests that the decision to shelve Batgirl may have been made due to tax purposes rather than the film’s alleged poor quality. Batgirl is said to not fit the studio’s new strategy towards superhero films, feeling “neither big enough to feel worthy of a major theatrical release nor small enough to make economic sense in a increasingly cruel streaming landscape”. We’ll keep you updated as this story progresses. The original article continues below.
Exactly how bad should a superhero blockbuster (which is already in post-production) be for your studio to permanently shelve it? When it comes to DC’s Batgirl, we’ll never know why Warner Bros. Discovery decided never to release it, according to an exclusive report by New York Post (opens in new tab).
It was previously reported that Warner Bros. was considering a theatrical run for Batgirl. However, it now looks like not even HBO Max can save this one.
As claimed by a “top Hollywood source”, the president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav made the decision to scrap the Batgirl movie entirely after disastrous test screenings of the film – this despite a budget that reportedly exceeded $100 million.
The screenings are said to have gone down so badly with test audiences that the studio decided to “cut their losses and run, for the sake of the brand’s future”, with the Post’s source explaining that the studio believes “an elusive ‘Batgirl’ It will be irresistible.”
Does DC’s Film Division Need Rescue?
Batgirl’s shocking cancellation comes after months of radio silence surrounding the nearly finished production, which was not even mentioned during last month’s Warner Bros. panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
Of course, the decision to scrap the multimillion-dollar project is not uncommon for Zaslav, known as a “relentless cost-cutter” who recently shut down the $300 million CNN+ streaming service less than a month after launch. Zaslav took over as CEO following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery earlier this year.
Still, the news is a huge blow to DC’s film production group, which has been beset by problems and controversy in recent months. This includes numerous arrests and allegations surrounding Ezra Miller, star of the upcoming The Flash, and a petition to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which has now been signed by over 4.6 million people.
Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys For Life, Ms. Marvel), Batgirl stars Leslie Grace (In The Heights) in the title role, alongside JK Simmons (Justice League) as Jim Gordon, Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman and Brendan Fraser as Garfield Lynns / Firefly. Warner Bros. and her Batgirl team have yet to comment on the report.