The decision is both surprising and annoying: Warner has simply canceled its soon-to-be-released Batgirl movie.
In the industry,it is not uncommon for some large projects in development to take the water and never see the light of day (Tomb Raider 2 is the latest example). On the small screen, it also happens that pilots never have a sequel, such as the spin-off of Game of Thrones with Naomi Watts which would have cost between 30 and 35 million dollars.
But it is much more surprising – and above all distressing – than a feature film already filmed and in the last phase of its post-production (with a first cut presented in test screening) is purely and simply canceled, without any real consideration for all the people who worked on it.
After the fall of Batwoman, that of Batgirl
This is however the case ofBatgirl, which finished principal photography in March 2022, was due for release at the end of the year. and was literally thrown in the dumpster by the new entity Warner Bros Discovery. As confirmed, the film directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will not be released in theaters or on HBO Max even though it would have cost nearly $90 million (the non-marketing budget of Birds of Prey). The film was to introduce the heroine Barbara Gordon in addition to calling back J.K. Simmons' Commissioner Gordon (appeared in Justice League) and Michael Keaton's Batman (who will first reprise his costume in the cursed strong>The Flash).
Rumors of a postponement or abandonment have been circulating since the absence of Batgirlat the last Comic-Con in San Diego, but the information was published more recently by the New York Post, an unreliable source, before being confirmed by the specialized press, in particular The Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap or Deadline.
REASONS FOR CANCELLATION
Regarding the reasons for the cancellation, several explanations have been put forward. The Wrap reported that test screenings would not have been convincingand released a statement from the studio's spokesperson referring to “a shift in strategy regarding the DC Extended Universe and HBO Max”, but without further details.
According to media sources, producers and notably new CEO David Zaslav would like “big show” DC titles to be turned into big screen events with probably a very rigid idea of what a superhero movie should look like. And obviously, Batgirldidn't look like it. From the start, the film was thought to be released on HBO Max with a budget well below other $100 or even $200 million blockbusters like The Batman.
According to Variety, Batgirl was thus too expensive to end up on a streaming platform where its profitability was not assured. Trying to save the furniture on HBO Max would also not have allowed the studio to carry out a tax depreciation at the tax level. Releasing the film in theaters would have required an additional $30-50 million at home and tens of millions more for worldwide release, which also would not have been profitable enough at the time where the studio is focused on budget restrictions.
The studio also made it clear that it still wanted to collaborate with Leslie Grace (who was to play Batgirl) and the directors. The heroine therefore still has a chance (if we can still call it a chance) to appear in the DCEU by squatting the franchise of another superhero. After the film about Wonder Twins and Batgirl, the question of the cancellation of Blue Beetle should also arise. But if you needed more proof that the DCEU is a huge mess that doesn't know where it's going, here it is.