You’re never going to see that new Batgirl movie. According to reports, Warner Bros. has decided to cancel the nearly finished project and not release it either in theaters or on HBO Max, which was the original plan.
There are multiple reports as to the reasoning behind this and io9 has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment. We’ll update this piece if and when we hear back. For now though, the New York Post, which broke the news, says test screenings of the film were so bad that the studio felt releasing it could damage the DC brand. The Wrap adds that the film was made as a streaming movie, not a big theatrical release, and Warner Bros.’ new management wants DC titles to be as big as possible. Which Batgirl was not. Variety then offers another angle that “Studio insiders insist the decision 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,”
Directed by Bad Boys for Life team Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Batgirl stars Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon, who then becomes the titular character. Michael Keaton was set to reprise his role as Batman in the film too. According to the Wrap, Warner Bros. has nothing against any of those people and hopes to work with them soon—it’s just that the film was made under a different regime, and it doesn’t mesh with the current boss’ plans. Plans that include DC films being as big and theatrical as possible.
This is wild though. According to those reports, Batgirl cost at minimum $70 million and maybe closer to $100 million. To just eat that much money is simultaneously incredible but also, if it’s being done for the right reasons, honorable. If the studio truly doesn’t think the movie it has is good enough for audiences, and that releasing it could damage the DC brand as a whole, losing $100 million now is better than the countless billions it could lose in the future. You almost respect the choice, though you simultaneously feel bad for all the hard work everyone involved put into it.
However, you also can’t help but think about how this fits into Warner Bros. and DC’s complex and fascinating history. How Justice League was first released as an inferior version, which certainly did damage not just to the DC brand, but fractured the fan base. You also can’t help but wonder about The Flash, another upcoming Warner Bros. movie that certainly cost much more than $100 million and has a much, much bigger problem than it just not being a good movie: star Ezra Miller has become a mainstay in the police blotter. Will that film still be released? And if so, what does that say about Batgirl? Is bad press okay but a bad movie not?
So many questions, not a lot of answers. At least now. Whatever happens here, no one can ever say that the behind the scenes drama at Warner Bros. and DC Films is boring.
Update 8/2/22: 5:12 p.m. – We added information from the Variety report.
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