Warner Bros. axes ‘Batgirl,’ won’t release $90M HBO Max film
Warner Bros. has pulled out of the $90 million “Batgirl” slated for HBO Max, according to a person connected to the film, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
This decision was very unusual for such a high-priced and high-profile film. But the studio ultimately decided that “Batgirl” wasn’t worthy of a streaming or theatrical premiere, and instead decided to scrap the film, starring “In the Heights” star Leslie Grace as Batgirl and co-star Michael Keaton ( The Return ). slow as Batman), JK Simmons and Brendan Frazier directed by Adel Al-Arabi and Bilal Falah.
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,” have been 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. However, marketing a film like “Batgirl” would require tens of millions of dollars more for such a release. Warner Bros. Discovery is scheduled to report its second quarter earnings on Thursday.
Representatives for Warner Bros. and Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment. The Batgirl plans were first reported by the New York Post.
Warner Bros. also dropped “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt,” the nearly finished sequel to “Scoob,” in 2020. In an Instagram post on Tuesday, producer and writer Tony Cervone confirmed that Scoob! It is canned.
“Yes, I’m afraid that’s true,” Cervone wrote. “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. Ultimately, “Batgirl” didn’t fit those plans.
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