Shooting Complete on Batgirl, but Film Will Never Be Released

Exec from rival studio calls the move 'unprecedented'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2022 1:18 AM CDT
In 'Unprecedented' Move, Batgirl Is Not Happening
Actor Leslie Grace, center, on what was believed to be the film set of the new Batgirl movie, in Glasgow, Scotland, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.   (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)

(Newser) – If you'd been looking forward to watching In the Heights actress Leslie Grace play Batgirl, with Michael Keaton reprising his iconic role as Batman, well, you'll apparently never get the chance to do that after all. Despite shooting having already been completed on Batgirl, the movie also starring JK Simmons as Batgirl's father, Commissioner Gordon, and Brendan Fraser as the villain, Firefly, Warner Bros. Discovery announced Tuesday that the film will never be released. It was in the final stages of post-production, and was supposed to be released on streaming service HBO Max this year, per the Hollywood Reporter. An upcoming Scooby Doo flick was also scrapped, Deadline reports.

A Warner Bros. rep says the move simply "reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max," and insiders explain that under former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, streaming projects had been a priority, but the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, wants to return the focus to theatrical releases—and under that strategy, it's not financially sound to make big-budget films that are released directly to streaming. However, an anonymous source who spoke to the New York Post says that's not the only factor in the decision: Audiences in test screenings hated the film, the source claims. "[Producers] think an unspeakable Batgirl is going to be irredeemable" in terms of the future of movies from the DC Comics universe, the source says.

The budget for the film was around $75 million initially, but officially, it grew to $90 million (and the source says it ended up being over $100 million), and sources tell Variety that by shelving the project entirely, the production company "will almost certainly take a tax write-down," likely seen as the best way to recoup costs. The sources also explain it could have doubled the cost to increase the scope of the film if producers wanted to make it worthy of a theatrical release, and the idea of spending that much more on it was a "non-starter" as the company focuses on cutting costs. Justin Kroll of Deadline says that after news broke of Batgirl's cancellation, the exec of a rival studio told him, "Worked in this town for three decades and this is some unprecedented s--- right here." (Read more Warner Bros. stories.)

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