Warner Bros executives have dramatically scrapped its $100million Batgirl film after it received poor test reviews.
The decision to axe the film — which was slated to be released on HBO Max later this year — came after a series of test screenings were panned by audiences, an unnamed source told the New York Post, and studio execs thought it would hurt the future of the brand as executives seek to streamline the DC Extended Universe.
Batgirl was first given the greenlight in 2021 as part of a company-wide effort to create feature films specifically for HBO Max, Variety reports.
It would have featured Latina actress Leslie Grace in the titular role as she battled Brendan Fraser’s Firefly who turned to a life of crime after he is fired from his job, loses his health insurance and could no longer care for his sick wife.
According to those who have seen the now-scrapped film, Michael Keaton’s Batman was only featured in a few scenes — and did not serve as a mentor to Grace’s Barbara Gordon, and the costumes were subpar.
‘I’ll say I’m not that surprised Batgirl got canceled as it features a woke Latino Batgirl and Barbara Gordon in a story that sounds downright awful,’ Matt McGloin wrote for Cosmic Book News.
And Collider Editor-In-Chief Steven Weintraub tweeted: ‘Spoke to people that saw #Batgirl, and they said it was a huge disappointment.
‘Also that the costumes looked cheap, especially Keaton’s Batman costume.’
Executives have also scrapped the upcoming Scoob! sequel Scoob: Holiday Haunt, which cost $40 million.
The Batgirl film has been ‘canned’ by Warner Bros. after spending more than $100m on the movie because studio executives want to move away from made-for-streaming projects
Collider Editor-in-Chief Steven Weintraub tweeted that he spoke to people who saw the Batgirl film and ‘they said it was a huge disappointment’
Filmmakers were told the decision came down to a ‘purchase accounting’ maneuver available to Warner Discovery because the company changed hands earlier this year.
It allows Warner Bros Discovery to not have to carry its losses forward while it tries to pare down its $3 billion in debt, according to Deadline.
And as it tries to recoup its losses, company officials are moving away from its strategy of releasing bad movies to encourage subscriptions to HBO Max, and are instead focusing on creating large scale films that could compete in theaters.
But in order to do that, company executives would have to spend vast sums of money to improve the films’ graphics, as well as $80 million in global prints and advertising.
The studio has already spent more than $100 million on the Batgirl film, in which, critics say Grace’s Barbara Gordon dresses up as Batman for Halloween and proceeds to go after terrorists on her own.
The studio is said to want to move away from made-for-streaming post-Covid projects and go back to big theatrical event releases.
A source said: ‘They think an unspeakable Batgirl is going to be irredeemable.’
The film was not featured during a DC panel at Comic-Con in San Diego last month, where the brand traditionally showcases upcoming projects.
Batgirl was first planned as a release on HBO Max, with The Puck newsletter in April reporting that then-Warner Bros. exec Toby Emmerich had been milling over a potential release in theaters for the movie.
Emmerich left the company this past June to begin his own production company, following the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery, with David Zaslav being named CEO.
Zaslav has reorganized Warner Bros. with a ‘DC-based film production’ branch, Variety reported in June.
Behind-the-scenes: The decision on the film — which was to be released later this year — came after test screenings were panned by audiences, and studio execs thought it would hurt the future of the brand; an explosion sequence was filmed in Glasgow, Scotland, in January
Warner Bros. continues to debate how to handle next year’s planned release of The Flash amid multiple accusations of misconduct aimed at star Ezra Miller.
Star-studded: J.K. Simmons (pictured) along with Michael Keaton and Brendan Fraser are among the supporting cast for the film; seen in February in Glasgow, Scotland
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