Warner Bros. cancels the “Batgirl” film after receiving $90 million

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Actress Leslie Grace attending the MTV Video Music Awards in September 2021. Grace played the lead in the movie Batgirl, which the studio has now put on indefinite hold. Images by Jason Kempin/Getty remove caption

switch to caption Images by Jason Kempin/Getty Leslie Grace, an actress, at the MTV Video Music Awards in September 2021. Grace played the lead in the movie Batgirl, which the studio has now put on indefinite hold.

Images by Jason Kempin/Getty Warner Bros. Discovery stated Tuesday that it is abandoning all plans to premiere the nearly finished movie Batgirl, starring actress Leslie Grace, in a move that astonished Hollywood insiders for the amount of money lost.

Due to COVID-related delays, the film’s original budget of $75 million quickly increased to $90 million. The 2020 Will Smith and Martin Lawrence film Bad Boys for Life as well as the most recent Disney series Ms. Marvel were both directed by the team of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.

A Warner Bros. representative stated the following in a statement that was quoted by several media outlets: “Our leadership’s strategic shift in relation to the DC universe and HBO Max is reflected in the decision to withhold the release of Batgirl. Although Leslie Grace is an exceptionally great performer, this choice does not speak to how well she performed.”

Requests for comment from NPR have not received a response from Warner Bros.

Adam B. Vary, a senior entertainment journalist at Variety, has been covering the Batgirl saga. He says that moviegoers found significance in it. In addition to having a Latina actress, Leslie Grace, in the major role, he notes that hundreds, if not thousands of people labored on this project for many months. “One of the earliest trans characters, based on a trans character from a comic book, was also included in this film and was portrayed by a trans actor. In this film, Michael Keaton would reprise his role as Batman. Therefore, the fandom did indeed see it with some excitement.”

Variety reported on Tuesday that the movie had been planned by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, and that its first release had been set for the HBO Max streaming service. Since then, David Zaslav has taken over as CEO of the recently formed Warner Bros. Discovery firm and has changed the company’s corporate strategy to focus on streaming. Variety reports that the fate of Batgirl appears to have been affected by these strategy battles, but that dropping Batgirl would enable Warner Bros. Discovery to deduct the project from its taxes.

Instead of airing it on HBO Max, the Warner Bros. Discovery administration decided to essentially write off Batgirl so that they could clear their debt sheet, according to Vary.

El Arbi and Fallah wrote the movie’s makers wrote the following in a statement published on Instagram on Tuesday: “The news has startled and grieved us. We still find it hard to accept. Since it is crucial for filmmakers to have their work seen by audiences, even though the movie wasn’t quite finished, we desire that viewers from all around the world had the chance to watch and enjoy the end product. They might in the future, insha’Allah. In any case, it was a privilege and an honor to have been a part of the DCEU, or “DC Extended Universe,” even if it was only for a little while. We have always been tremendous fans of Batman since we were young children. Forever a Batgirl.”

The New York Post was the source of the initial report on the Batgirl news. According to Johnny Oleksinski, the entertainment critic for The Post, his source cited a screening of a rough version as the reason for the negative audience reception.

It tested poorly, says Oleksinski. “It tested in the 30s, and as everyone is aware, a test score in the 30s means you failed arithmetic and must retake eighth grade. The film “Batgirl” is terrible.”

However, Oleksinski continues, a lot of bad movies still find their way into theaters.

He adds, “We have to accept that Joel Schumacher’s Val Kilmer in a nippled Batsuit made it to our screens. “The motion picture Cats arrived on our screens thanks to Universal. They weren’t put on hold, and they were undoubtedly well aware that they would be embarrassed, lose a lot of money, and not make any money. Therefore, this merely comes as a shock. You wouldn’t be able to locate a previous instance of this happening, in my opinion.”

Adam B. Vary of Variety claims that Batgirl’s fate is noticeably different from that of the upcoming movie The Flash, which stars Ezra Miller and is set for release in June 2023. In Hawaii earlier this year, Miller (who prefers the pronouns they/them) was arrested twice on suspicion of assault, disorderly conduct, and harassment. Miller is currently dealing with a number of legal concerns. The legal claims of the parents of an 18-year-old in North Dakota allege that Miller groomed and controlled their child for a number of years.

“Vary notes that Ezra Miller has not yet made any public comments regarding the claims, and Warner Brothers has also not really made any official statements about it. However, since this is a unique issue, many DC Comics and superhero fans are unsure of what Warner Brothers would do. Then this Batgirl decision is made, and a lot of people start to wonder if they could make the same decision for The Flash.”

Warner Bros. Discovery also revealed that the movie Scoob!: Holiday Haunt has been postponed at the same time that Batgirl received the ax. It was a follow-up to the 2020 movie Scoob!, whose review by Variety wrote said: “These are tough times, and parents may be grateful to have a virtual babysitter to amuse their kids for 90 minutes, in which case, Scoob! is undoubtedly more effective than seating them in front of the fish tank.”

On Wednesday, Leslie Grace posted a video of someone lip-syncing on her Instagram account. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift was the tune.

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