In a move which is virtually unprecedented, Warner Bros. has scrapped the release of its Batgirl movie – a film which has already been shot, partly edited and test screened. The film will not be shown in cinemas or HBO Max and instead the $90 million production will go down as a tax write-off – never to be seen by the paying public.
Starring Leslie Grace as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Jim Gordon, Brendan Fraser as Firefly and Michael Keaton as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Batgirl was originally slated for a HBO Max release but the scope of the film didn’t fit into the company’s new strategy.
In a statement, Warner Bros Discovery said:
“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. 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 Batgirland Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”
There are rumours swirling that Batgirl’s test-screening didn’t go particularly well and it would have cost too much to fix – especially if it was going to get bumped-up to a big screen release (with millions more going on marketing).
Movies In Focus has been reading about movies for decades and I can’t think of something like this happening on such a large scale. Yes, movies have been shutdown partway through production and legal wrangles on independent movies have tied releases up for years – but I can’t think of a time where a nearly completed film – especially one with such a large budget – has been shelved for good. It happens with pilot episodes in U.S. television all the time – but never with big budget movies.
There’s has been a lot of outrage about this online – especially from artists within the industry – so it’ll be very interesting to see what the ramifications are – if there are any at all.
One thing’s for certain – it looks like Batgirl will likely never see the light of day.