Warner Bros. has confirmed the DC Comics film Batgirl will not be released in cinemas or even streaming, essentially pouring $90 million (A$130m) down the drain.
Holy expensive cancelled release, Batman!
Batgirl was being prepped for release on the streaming service HBO Max, and even was being considered for theatrical release at one point.
However, has been completely dropped despite nearing film completion, according to The Wrap.
“I use their expectations against them. That will be their weakness. Not mine. Let them all underestimate me…— Leslie Grace (@lesliegrace) January 15, 2022
And when their guard is down, and their pride is rising, let me kick their butts.”
- Batgirl, Year One
The film was being tested with audiences in anticipation of a late 2022 debut, however, the bat reportedly didn’t fly with viewers and was so poorly received that the studio decided to cut the film for the sake of DC’s branding future.
So the project is completely dead in the water and would have to be one of the most expensive film castoffs in history.
The move was semi-expected when there was not a single mention of the film at DC’s Comic-Con panel in San Diego last month.
The event is used to boost exposure for any upcoming projects and there wasn't even so much as a whisper of Batgirl.
The project was being filmed and produced under a different Warner Bros. regime than currently in place, with then-CEO Toby Emmerich stepping down in June.
Not too long after, Warner Bros. merged with Discovery.
Warner Bros., led now by CEO David Zaslav is reportedly attempting to revamp DC Films to be known for big blockbuster films, and Batgirl simply wasn’t that.
Folks who are like “Batgirl was shelved because it was bad” acting as if that has ever stopped WB from releasing something before, lol.— Richard Newby (@RICHARDLNEWBY) August 2, 2022
If the rumors about Batgirl’s cancelled release are true, there is absolutely no excuse for that.— Michael Patterson (@michaelp93) August 2, 2022
Leslie Grace deserves better. Brendan Fraser deserves better. Michael Keaton deserves better. The fans deserve better.
Batgirl deserves better! pic.twitter.com/9YL8xtyXrN
Warner Bros. released a statement on the cancellation, saying: “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... this decision is not a reflection of her performance."
Zaslav has a history of hitting the cancel button on big-money projects as well, having axed the $300 million (A$435m) CNN+ streaming service just a few days after it didn’t draw in enough subscribers.
The new CEO has now been tasked with turning the DC Extended Universe around much as Kevin Feige has done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So, it's bad news for Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (of Bad Boys for Life fame) who haven’t made the cut as part of the new direction.
Interestingly enough, the directing duo had received a heap of praise after they directed the first and last episodes of the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel.
The Batgirl movie was set to star In The Heights actor Leslie Grace as Batgirl, alongside J.K. Simmons, Jacob Scipio, Brendan Fraser, and Michale Keaton, the latter of which was due to play Batman.
Additionally, Scooby-Doo had every right to yelp ‘Ruh Roh Raggy’, after Warner Bros also reportedly shelved the animated film Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, which had a budget in the $40 million (A$58m) range, according to Collider.