How the directors and cast found out that Warner Bros. had shelved their nearly finished $90m Batgirl movie

Warner Bros. has shelved the planned $90 million Batgirl movie for HBO Max starring Leslie Grace.

His decision was extremely unusual for a film that was so highly priced and almost finished. But the studio ultimately decided that Batgirl did not qualify for either a streaming debut or a cinema release, and instead completed the film starring In the Heights lead Grace, Batgirl and Michael Keaton (returning as Batman), co-starring J.K. Selected the option to write. Simmons and Brendan Fraser. It was directed by Adil El Arabi and Bilal Falah. Production wrapped in April.

This was followed by reports that the film’s budget exceeded $40m and tested poorly with audiences.

Deadline reports that Al Arabi and Falah found out about the news while in Morocco for the former’s wedding; He hoped to continue editing the film when he returned.

Photos from El Arbi’s wedding, which was attended by Bad Boys For Life star Will Smith, were shared on Instagram a day before the news broke.

A Warner Bros. Pictures spokesperson said: “The decision not to release Batgirl reflects a strategic shift in our leadership as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is a result of her performance.” There is no reflection.”

The spokesperson added that the studio is committed to working with the film’s directors and cast on any other projects.

Warner Bros. The decision, without any apparent parallel in Hollywood history, sent shock waves through the industry. When a big-budget film doesn’t meet the studio’s expectations, it is usually sold out or quietly abandoned with little fanfare. Batgirl, the green light before WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery Inc., instead reportedly won’t see the light of day after poor test screenings.

“We are saddened and shocked by this news. We still can’t believe it,” Al Arabi and Falah said in a statement. “As directors, it is important that our work is shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we want fans around the world to have the opportunity to see and embrace the final film. Maybe That one day they will do Inshallah (God’s will).”

The directors signed off on their statement, posting on Instagram, “Batgirl for Life.”

Under new Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive David Zaslav, Warner Bros. is changing its strategy on film releases and lower costs. Under previous chief executive Jason Keeler and partly as a pandemic response, the studio implemented day-to-day releases to open movies simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max in 2021. Other films, such as Batgirl, were made entirely for HBO Max.

This year, Warner Bros. has returned to special theater windows for at least 45 days before sending movies to HBO Max. While Batgirl isn’t as expensive as many superhero movies, which typically cost $150-200 million to make, it is a big-budget movie for the HBO Max title. Zaslav has maintained that big budget films are best served by a theatrical rollout. But that kind of release would require crores and crores to market a film like Batgirl. Warner Bros. Discovery is set to report second-quarter earnings on Thursday.

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Warner Bros. also closed Scoob!: Holiday Hunt, the nearly completed sequel to 2020’s Scoob!

Producer and writer Tony Cervon confirmed in an Instagram post on Tuesday that Scoob! The film was canned.

“Yeah, I’m afraid it’s true,” Cervone wrote. “The film is practically finished and turned out beautifully. I am beyond heartbroken.”

The Batgirl cancellation comes as Warner Bros. is trying to revamp its DC Films operations. While The Batman did well with $770.8 million in ticket sales earlier this year, Warner’s DC release has been uncertain and riddled with controversy. The Flash, to be released next June, stars Ezra Miller, who has been arrested twice this year in Hawaii for disorderly conduct and on suspicion of assault.

Warner Bros. is hoping to reorganize and reset its DC pipeline — with its rival Marvel bigger, not smaller. Ultimately, Batgirl didn’t live up to those plans.