The whole Batgirl saga has been strange. The feature film was first announced in 2021; however, it was initially supposed to be exclusive to HBO Max. This was Warner Bros.’s original initiative when they launched the streaming service; there was a momentary scare as the company announced that they would put all of their 2021 theatrical releases on HBO Max on the same day of release. The downfall of movie theaters was predicted during this time, but thankfully, audiences didn’t go for this tactic, and this move backfired tremendously. Financially, the company is still trying to recover from that disastrous move.
That disastrous move saw a new regime come in, and the new Warner Bros. Discovery has deviated from releasing extensive budget content on their streaming sites. That included Batgirl, which was upgraded to a theatrical release. However, as 2022 rolled along, news about Batgirl wasn’t particularly great. This film was supposed to have the first return of Michael Keaton’s Batman. Plus, Brendan Fraser was all set to play Firefly. However, it doesn’t sound like it had anything to do with those actors or even Leslie Grace. It all comes down to the quality of the film, and despite impressing with Bad Boys for Life and Ms. Marvel, HBO Max didn’t sound thrilled with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s work on the DC feature.
Officially, the film was scrapped from theaters altogether in August. The reported budget for Batgirl was $90 million, marking one of the most expensive films to be shelved in Hollywood history. Scoob! Holiday Haunt was the other big named film that was scrapped as well, but most of the focus was on Batgirl, given the commercial aspects of the project. So naturally, there was widespread outrage over this news, though it wasn’t to such a high degree that Warner Bros. Discovery would have to rethink its decision. Ultimately, the Batgirl film was reportedly given a funeral screening and locked behind closed doors for eternity.
The film will be used as a tax credit instead, and given that the recent report states that Warner Bros Discovery had a $2.3 billion net loss in the recent quarter, they’re going to need all the money they can get. Arbi and Fallah weren’t happy about the situation. Since Warner Bros. Discovery refused to put their film in theaters because they genuinely thought it was a bad film, it made the filmmakers look bad even though they were coming the high of Ms. Marvel. Even after all of that, the duo is still willing to work with the company despite the potential career-damaging move, but it has to come with one condition:
“Yeah, we’d still work with them,” Fallah told The Hollywood Reporter. “But on the condition that the movie comes out. I mean, if Warner says, ‘do you want to do the next Batman or Superman?’ we’ll say yes. Just so long as the movie comes out!”
Honestly, it would be shocking if Warner Bros. Discovery hired these two for something high-profile. These two are talented filmmakers, but if David Zaslav was willing to put a $90 million film on the shelf because of its quality, the film had to be tremendously bad. The irony of this situation is Black Adam, which has a terrible 39% rotten tomatoes score and is likely closing the studio nearly $100 million due to the film failing to recoup double its budget. We can’t judge the quality of Batgirl because the movie was never released; however, one has to wonder what Zaslav feels is good or bad when Black Adam was both a critical and financial failure.
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