It was revealed on Tuesday that Warner Bros. Discovery is scrapping its upcoming “Batgirl” film starring Leslie Grace, despite the studio investing $90 million into the film, and it nearing post-production completion.
Nevertheless, Warner Bros. has stated that the film will not receive a theatrical release, nor will be made available on HBO Max, the studio’s streaming service.
“The decision to not release ‘Batgirl’ reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” a Warner spokesperson stated.
The statement continued, countering rumors that the studio is unhappy with the performance of Leslie Grace, who is known more as a singer than an actress. “Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance.”
The statement concluded by saying how grateful Warner Bros. is to the film’s directors and cast, and “we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”
The character of Batgirl has been a vital part of the larger Batman universe, played in the past by Yvonne Craig and Alicia Silverstone. This new film stars Grace in the title role, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, Brendan Fraser as villain Firefly, and Michael Keaton as Batman.
This decision to shelve the film has been met with frustration by DC fans, many of whom were excited to see Keaton reprise his role as Batman. The move is also an unfortunate development for Fraser and Grace.
The film’s directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, whose last feature film was 2020’s “Bad Boys for Life,” have also released a statement about the studio’s decision.
“We are saddened and shocked by the news. … As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences,” the directors stated.
They continued with praise for their lead actress, who they say “portrayed Batgirl with so much passion, dedication, and humanity.” They also mention the fans, stating, “we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film for themselves.”
Variety’s Guy Lodge tweeted: “For fans who genuinely thrill to superhero movies: those who criticize the things you love aren’t half as great a threat to your viewing pleasure as those who finance them.”
For fans who genuinely thrill to superhero movies: those who criticise the things you love aren’t half as great a threat to your viewing pleasure as those who finance them.
— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) August 3, 2022
The official Twitter account for the film website I Can’t Unsee This Movie drew a comparison to the Zack Snyder “Justice League” fan campaign: “Wouldn’t it be wild if the #Batgirl cancellation ends up being a brilliant subversive marketing that fuels a #ReleaseTheBatgirlFilm campaign.”
Wouldn’t it be wild if the #Batgirl cancellation ends up being a brilliant subversive marketing move that fuels a viral #ReleaseTheBatgirlFilm campaign and skyrockets interest and demand — by design?! #ReleaseBatgirl pic.twitter.com/YtCfSvMzyY
— I Can’t Unsee Movie (@CantUnseeMovie) August 3, 2022
Warner Bros. Discovery will present its earnings report on Thursday, at which point more news regarding company shakeups are expected.