“Batgirl” Has Been Completely Shelved By Warner Bros. And Will Instead Become A Tax Deduction
The Batgirl film from Warner Bros.–starring Leslie Grace of In The Heights and directed by Bad Boys For Life directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah–may not ever see the light of day. Even though Warner Bros. reportedly spent at least $90 million on Batgirl and it was finished filming, it has been shelved indefinitely and sources are suggesting it could be because test audiences thought it was shit and the studio decided that using it as a tax-write off would be a smarter money move than releasing it.
Batgirl starred Leslie as the titular Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon, alongside Michael Keaton who was reprising the role of Batman. It also featured JK Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, and Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly. The Hollywood Reporter says the film was originally planned for an HBO Max release this year, with a possible theatrical release. The movie was budgeted at around $70-$80 million but costs from COVID increased to almost $90-$100 million. After the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, the new CEO, David Zaslav, decided to move away from streaming films and focus on theatrical releases. Part of this involved shelving Batgirl in its entirety. But it’s not the only movie shelved, an animated movie–Scoob! Holiday Haunt–is also not coming out. I have to say, that hurts me. I love both Scooby-Doo and Halloween! That’s his season, bitch! The studio made a statement about it:
“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” said a Warner Bros. spokesperson in a statement. “Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”
The New York Post has sources who say that the movie was shelved for a few reasons and one is that test audiences hated it:
Those tests were said to be so poorly received by moviegoers that the studio decided to cut its losses and run, for the sake of the brand’s future. It’s a DC disaster.
“They think an unspeakable Batgirl is going to be irredeemable,” the source said.
The writing was on the wall for this since the movie wasn’t discussed at DC’s Comic-Con panel last month in San Diego, which is weird since that’s THEE promo time for superhero movies. Variety also has sources who say this is about something else… TAXES!
Instead, the company has shelved Batgirl — along with the Scoob! sequel — and several sources say it will almost certainly take a tax write-down on both films, seen internally as the most financially sound way to recoup the costs (at least, on an accountant’s ledger). It could justify that by chalking it up to a post-merger change of strategy.
Doing so, however, would mean that Warner Bros. cannot monetize either movie — no HBO Max debut, no sale to another studio.
Poor Batgirl. I guess we’ll find out if it really was horrible when it inevitably leaks. Many have also brought up the fact that it’s shitty that the studio shelved Batgirl but The Flash film, starring international terrorizer Ezra Miller is still going to be released despite Ezra being an alleged abuser and on the run from authorities.
The fact that DC are willing to cancel Batgirl, a movie that's had ZERO production issues, just to supposedly save a bit of money, but haven't cancelled The Flash despite that movie's production being an utter nightmare and its main star being toxic… it's genuinely bizarre.
— aimée ☆ JLI's pr manager (@sapphyreblayze) August 2, 2022
Joss Whedon was originally tapped to make this movie so I guess Batgirl lucked out in that sense. I mean sure, all the hard work these people put into the movie got dropped like a hot sack of dog shit, but at least they didn’t have the excruciating experience of having to work with Joss Whedon first. That’s something.