In an astonishing turn of events, HBO Max‘s Batgirl movies that were shot months ago and are reportedly nearing completion won’t be released anyway. According to reports, Warner Bros. plans to shelve the film indefinitely — despite spending at least $75 million on it (and perhaps as much as $90 million after Covid-related delays are factored in).
The movie that was supposed to feature Leslie Grace as the title character and also featured an appearance by Michael Keaton as Batman, was supposed to be one of DC comics‘ biggest titles to date for the HBO Max streaming service. Instead, the film has been canceled and will never see the light of day.
So why would Warner Bros. spend $90 million on a movie and then just not release it? According to Variety, the film fell victim to the change in leadership at the company, which was recently acquired by Discovery. The new people in charge have changed their philosophy when it comes to films. The new Warner Bros. Discovery wants to focus on big budget tentpoles for theaters – not exclusive to streaming, as was the practice in recent years under the former Warners regime. And Batgirl was reportedly deemed not big enough to become a theatrical release. As they put it…
Spending the money to expand the scope of “Batgirl” into theaters — plus the $30-$50 million needed to market it domestically and the tens of millions needed for a global rollout — could have nearly doubled the cost for the film, and insiders say it was a non-starter at a company recently focused on belt-tightening and the bottom line.
Theoretically, Warner Bros. could still have put the film on HBO Max without making any major changes. By shelving the film instead, it enables the new combined company to “take a tax write-off” on the film, as well as a computer-animated Scooby-Doo film that was also in production and is also stays canned. If they released the movie in any way, they couldn’t do it.
It’s still shocking news for a film that a few months ago might have looked like the start of a new franchise. It has Michael Keaton as Batman in it! Can you imagine a company bringing Keaton back as Batman after 30 years and then just not releasing the movie? It’s crazy, but apparently that’s what happens.
Batgirl is scheduled to be released on HBO Max … never. Unless something changes, we may never see it.
DC comics that can’t become DC movies
These popular DC Comics titles may never get their own DC movies. (Sorry.)