Warner Bros. axes ‘Batgirl,’ won’t release $90M HBO Max film

  • 3 min read
  • Aug 04, 2022

Warner Bros. axes ‘Batgirl,’ won’t release $90M HBO Max film

File - Leslie Grace arrives at the movie screening "in the heights" during the Los Angeles International Film Festival on June 4, 2021. According to a person associated with the film, who was not authorized to speak publicly, the $90 million Warner Bros.

FILE – Leslie Grace arrives at the screening of “In the Heights” at the Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival on June 4, 2021. Warner Bros. has scrapped the $90 million “Batgirl” movie planned for HBO Max, according to a person familiar with the matter. With a film he was not allowed to talk about publicly. The studio decided that the film, starring Grace, was not worthy of a premiere or theatrical release, and instead decided to scrap the film, which also starred Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, and Brendan Fraser. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

In a highly unusual move that has shaken up Hollywood, Warner Bros. has scrapped “Batgirl,” which had been slated for HBO Max, and decided to shelve the $90 million film as the revamped studio changes its approach to streaming and DC Comics movies are changing.

The studio ultimately decided that the nearly finished “Batgirl” wasn’t worthy of a streaming or theatrical release. Warner Bros. has instead decided to scrap the film altogether, with “In the Heights” star Leslie Grace as Batgirl and co-starring. Michael Keaton (back as Batman), JK Simmons and Brendan Fraser. This movie was directed by Adel Al-Arabi and Bilal Falah. Production ended in April.

Warner Bros. The decision, which has no apparent parallel in recent Hollywood history, sent shockwaves through the industry. When a movie doesn’t meet a studio’s expectations, it’s usually sold or dropped quietly with little fanfare. Batgirl, which was greenlit before WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery, will instead not see the light of day.

“The decision not to release Batgirl reflects a strategic shift in our leadership of the DC Universe and HBO Max,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement. of his performance.”

The filmmakers learned of the studio’s decision shortly before the story aired late Tuesday. An early cut of “Batgirl” recently underwent a test screening. And while its scores weren’t great, poor test results for Warner Bros. DC releases and post-production drama have not been uncommon. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was reworked and recorded by Joss Whedon before a fan campaign led to Snyder’s final edit release. After the ill-received “Suicide Squad” in 2016, James Gunn is coming up with the similarly titled “Suicide Squad” in 2021.

“We were saddened and shocked by this news. “We still can’t believe it.” El Arabi and Fallah said in a statement on Wednesday. As directors, it is very important that our work is shown to the audience, and while the film was not yet finished, we wish that fans around the world had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film itself. . Maybe one day, God willing, they will come.”

The directors signed their statement, which was released on Instagram, “Batgirl For Life.”

Late Wednesday, Grace posted on Instagram that she was proud of the work that went into “Batgirl.”

Grace wrote, “I feel blessed to have spent a lifetime working and building relationships among absolute greats! Babs said it best, “My damn hero!”

Under new Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav, Warner Bros. is changing its strategy around movie releases and cutting costs. Under previous CEO Jason Keeler, and partly as a backlash, the studio ran day-by-day releases in 2021, opening movies simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Other films, such as “Batgirl,” were produced exclusively for HBO Max.

This year, Warner Bros. has returned to exclusive theaters at least 45 days before sending movies to HBO Max. While “Batgirl” isn’t as expensive as many superhero movies, which typically cost $150 million to $200 million, it is a bigger budget for an HBO Max title. Zaslav maintains that bigger-budget films are best served with a theatrical release. But the marketing of a film like “Batgirl” needs tens of millions of dollars for such a release. Warner Bros. Discovery is scheduled to report its second quarter earnings on Thursday.

Warner Bros. also dropped “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt,” the nearly finished sequel to “Scoob,” in 2020. Producer and writer Tony Cervone wrote in an Instagram post: “The film is practically finished and looks beautiful. I am beyond heartbroken.”

The cancellation of Batgirl comes as Warner Bros. tries to revamp its operations at DC Films. While “Batman” did well earlier this year with $770.8 million in ticket sales, DC Warners’ releases have been erratic and fraught with controversy. The Flash, slated for release next June, stars Ezra Miller, who has been arrested twice this year in Hawaii on suspicion of disorderly conduct and assault.

Warner Bros. hopes to reorganize and realign its DC pipeline — to go bigger, not smaller, with rival Marvel. The more modestly scaled, streaming-only “Batgirl” didn’t fit those schedules.

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For more AP Entertainment news, go to https://apnews.com/hub/entertainment

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