In a surprising development, Warner Bros. no longer release batgirl, the DC film that has already completed shooting and is expected to hit HBO Max this year. The unusual move comes after a change in leadership at Warners, with the newly installed CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David Zaslav prioritized cost-cutting measures and Warners refocused on making theatrical films rather than streaming projects, as was a priority for former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar.
batgirl was budgeted at approximately $80 million, with costs reaching nearly $90 million due to COVID-19 protocols. It’s a hefty amount, but significantly lower than DC’s theatrical releases, so the film wouldn’t have the spectacle that the public would expect from DC fare. (the batterreleased in March, had a budget of $185 million, excluding marketing costs.) Warners has also decided to shelve the animated film Scoob!: Holiday Hauntwhich had a budget in the $40 million range.
batgirl stars In the Heights breakout Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl – the first Latina to play the part – and is coming out Bad boys for life filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. The cast also includes Michael Keaton, back as Batman, JK Simmons as Barbara’s father, Commissioner James Gordon, and Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly. The New York Post reported first batgirl would be demolished.
“The decision not to release Batgirl reflects the strategic shift of our leadership regarding 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 achievements. We are the filmmakers of batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective cast and we hope to work with everyone again in the near future.”
Insiders say big-budget movies made directly for streaming no longer make financial sense under the company’s new strategy. In June, Zaslav brought in MGM’s Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy to lead Warners, replacing Toby Emmerich.
The leadership of Warner Bros. Discovery was looking for $3 billion in cost savings after the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger was completed in April. Major budget cuts underway for the conglomerate included streaming service CNN+, which cost $300 million before pulling the plug a month after launch, and JJ Abrams’ expensive HBO original. demi-mondewhich aimed to have a budget of over $200 million.
Meanwhile, HBO Max has brought back its programming focus area for originals, cutting The Gordita Chronicles after a single season as part of a strategy shift away from live-action kids and family programs. Linear networks under the Warner Bros. umbrella. Discovery, like TNT and TBS, have also had originals cut in recent months.
Under Kilar, Warners shattered the theater window, sending his 2021 slate day-and-date to HBO Max in a year-long experiment. Now Zaslav seems to be making a total turnaround by emphasizing the importance of theatrical over streaming in terms of original movies.
batgirl has traveled a winding road thus far. Joss Whedon initially signed on to write and direct in 2017, but dropped out a year later. batgirl’s directors, who work under the name Adil & Bilall, stepped in in 2021 as they were busy revitalizing the Bad Boys franchisee.
In January this year, Grace the first photo shared of himself in costume, along with a quote from the comic book Batgirl: Year One: “I use their expectations against them. That will be their weakness. Not mine. Let them all underestimate me… And when they lose their guard and their pride rises, let me kick them in the ass.”
Aug 2, 8:28 PM Updated to include a statement from Warner Bros.