After Warner Bros. Discovery made the shocking announcement that it was pulling the plug on the Batgirl movie, which was so far into production that it was reportedly conducting test screenings, DC Comics fans only have one question on their minds: Why? The film seemingly had everything going for it: The directors behind Ms. Marvel and Bad Boys for Life, Michael Keaton as Batman, and Brendan Fraser making his blockbuster return as the villainous Firefly.
However, incoming Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has been on a mission to refocus the studio on theatrical releases (and cut costs), which put Batgirl in a rough spot. Not only would shelving the movie give the company a tax write-off, but it would also help mend fences with filmmakers who felt burned by previous CEO Jason Kilar’s controversial decision to stream Warner’s entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max during the pandemic. Via Variety:
“Batgirl” found itself on the bad end of that decision, apparently neither big enough to feel worthy of a major theatrical release nor small enough to make economic sense in an increasingly cutthroat streaming landscape. Spending the money to expand the scope of “Batgirl” for theaters — plus the $30 million to $50 million needed to market it domestically and the tens of millions more needed for a global rollout — could have nearly doubled spending on the film, and insiders say that was a non-starter at a company newly focused on belt-tightening and the bottom line.
However, while Zaslav is trying to mend bridges after the infamous HBO Max release strategy, shelving Batgirl could backfire as creatives start to fear that their projects won’t see the light of day. Case in point, Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah released a statement revealing their shock at the decision.
“We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it,” the filmmakers wrote. “As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.”
You can read their full statement below, which also praises star Leslie Grace as well as the cast and crew for their hard work: