You’ll have heard the news.
“Batgirl” is no more.
Warner Bros’ brass opted to can the movie entirely – a film which is in post, mind you! – rather than release it, it was reported earlier.
According to Variety, the HBO Max original starring Leslie Grace as the title character didn’t measure up, per new studio chief David Baslav.
“Batgirl” found itself on the bad end of that decision, apparently neither big enough to feel worthy of a major theatrical release nor small enough to make economic sense in an increasingly cutthroat streaming landscape. Spending the money to expand the scope of “Batgirl” for theaters — plus the $30 million to $50 million needed to market it domestically and the tens of millions more needed for a global rollout — could have nearly doubled spending on the film, and insiders say that was a non-starter at a company newly focused on belt-tightening and the bottom line. (Spokespeople for Warner Bros. and Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment for this story.)
Releasing the movie on HBO Max would seem to be the most obvious solution. Instead, the company has shelved “Batgirl” — along with the “Scoob!” sequel — and several sources say it will almost certainly take a tax write-down on both films, seen internally as the most financially sound way to recoup the costs (at least, on an accountant’s ledger). It could justify that by chalking it up to a post-merger change of strategy.
Past WarnerMedia CEO Kilar’s strategy to make original $70 million live-action and animated films directly for HBO Max wasn’t something Baslav was in agreement on. As such, he’s axed both “Batgirl” and a “Scoob!” sequel, both films as good as completed.
“Batgirl” co-directors Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah received the news while they were in Morocco for El Arbi’s wedding. They had expected to return to the editing room to continue work on the superhero film, which also stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly.
Says Deadline :
In both cases, the filmmakers were told that it came down to a “purchase accounting” maneuver available to Warner Discovery because the company has changed hands, and also changed strategy from the previous regime. This opportunity expires in mid-August, said sources, and it allows Warner Bros Discovery to not have to carry the losses on its books at a time when the studio is trying to pare down $3 billion in debt across its divisions.
Rather than have Michael Keaton’s reintroduction as Batman – from the Tim Burton films – be on the small screen, Zaslav wanted to save that moment for the big screen.
…there were introductions of characters in that film that the studio wanted to save for those DC theatrical titles.
Keaton appears as the character in the upcoming theatrical release “The Flash”. Though with Ezra Miller’s troubles, there’s speculations that film could be next to be pink-slipped.
Warner Bros issued the following statement :
“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”
Will be interesting to see how this one pans out.