Warner Bros. Quits ‘Batgirl’ And Won’t Release $90 Million HBO Max Movie


Warner Bros. has scrapped the $90 million “Batgirl” film slated for HBO Max, according to a person associated with the film who was not authorized to speak about it publicly.

The decision was highly unusual for such an expensive film in its final stages of completion. But the studio ultimately decided that “Batgirl” didn’t deserve a streaming debut or a theatrical release, opting instead to make the film starring “In the Heights” star Leslie Grace as Batgirl and co-starring Michael Keaton (recurring as Batman), JK Simmons and Brendan Fraser. It was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Production packed in April.

Warner Bros.’ decision, one without any apparent parallel in Hollywood history, sent shockwaves through the industry. When a big-budget movie doesn’t live up to a studio’s expectations, it’s usually sold or quietly dumped with little fanfare. Greenlit before WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery Inc., “Batgirl” will instead simply not see the light of day after reportedly poor test screenings.

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“We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still cannot believe it,” El Arbi and Fallah said in a statement on Wednesday. “As directors, it’s critical that our work is shown to the public, and while the film was far from finished, we wish fans around the world had had the chance to see and embrace the final film for themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah (God willing).”

The directors signed their pronunciationposted on Instagram, “Batgirl For Life.”

Warner Strategy Shift

Under the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, shifts Warner Bros. its strategy for movie releases and cutting costs. Under previous CEO Jason Kilar and in part as a pandemic response, the studio rolled out day-and-date releases in 2021, opening movies simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Other films, such as ‘Batgirl’, were produced exclusively for HBO Max.

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This year, Warner Bros. back to exclusive cinema windows for at least 45 days before movies shipped to HBO Max. While “Batgirl” isn’t as expensive as many superhero movies, which typically cost $150-200 million to make, it’s a bigger budget movie for an HBO Max title. Zaslav has maintained that bigger budget movies are best served with a cinema rollout. But to market a movie like “Batgirl” for those kinds of releases would take tens of millions more. Warner Bros. Discovery will announce its second quarter results on Thursday.

Representatives of Warner Bros. and Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment. The “Batgirl” plans were first reported by the New York Post.

Warner Bros. also features “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt”, a near-complete sequel to 2020’s “Scoob!” Producer and writer Tony Cervone confirmed in an Instagram post on Tuesday that the “Scoob!” movie was canned.

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“Yes, I’m afraid this is true,” Cervone wrote. “The film is practically finished and turned out beautiful. I’m devastated.”

The cancellation of “Batgirl” comes because Warner Bros. trying to revamp its DC Films business. While “The Batman” performed well earlier this year with ticket sales of $770.8 million, Warners’ DC releases have been erratic and plagued with controversy. The Flash, due out next June, stars Ezra Miller, who has been arrested twice this year in Hawaii on charges of disorderly conduct and suspected assault.

Warner Bros. hopes to reorganize and realign its DC pipeline – bigger, not smaller with its rival Marvel. Ultimately, “Batgirl” didn’t fit those plans.