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“We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it.”
In a baffling turn of events, the Batgirl movie is no more.
For context, the movie was set to star Leslie Grace (who you might know from In the Heights) as the titular Batgirl/Barbara Gordon. The wider cast included J.K. Simmons as commissioner Jim Gordon, Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman, and Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly.
The decision to shelve the movie comes as a surprise for a whole bunch of reasons. According to Variety, the movie was already in post-production — meaning that principal filming was already done. Then there’s also the fact that the project apparently cost $90 million.
So, what explanation do we have? Well, the movie was specifically being made for HBO Max — and the new leadership at the overarching company, HBO Discovery, is moving away from scripted originals for the streaming platform and toward theatrical releases. Layoffs are expected.
According to Variety’s sources, “The decision to axe Batgirl was not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers, but by the desire for the studio’s slate of DC features to be at a blockbuster scale.”
While the movie would cost a lot more for a theatrical run that it wasn’t intended for, it won’t be seeing HBO Max streaming either. Variety then followed up with a report that the movie likely won’t be released on HBO Max so that the studio can take a tax write-down on the movie.
Then we have the New York Post, who initially broke the news, with a conflicting account. According to a source, “[The test screenings] were said to be so poorly received by moviegoers that the studio decided to cut its losses and run, for the sake of the brand’s future.”
Warner Bros. did release a statement, saying via a spokesperson, “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.”
The movie’s directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, also released a statement that read, “We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it. As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves.”
This isn’t the only movie to be recently scrapped by Warner Bros. — Scoob! A Holiday Haunt, the sequel to the movie Scoob!, has been scrapped after reportedly costing Warner Bros. $40 million. A handful of existing HBO Max original movies have also been removed from the service.
All of this being said, the company is still deciding what to do with the theatrical release of The Flash — even with all the allegations surrounding Ezra Miller.
We’ll keep you posted with any updates.