New ‘Batgirl’ film shelved by Warner Bros
‘Batgirl’, the feature film adaptation of the DC Comics character, has been killed at Warner Bros., The New York Post reported on Wednesday.
It will not be releasing in theatres, or any platforms at the studio including HBO Max.
The production had cast Leslie Grace in the role as Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) and was directed by ‘Bad Boys for Life’ and ‘Ms. Marvel’ filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
The project was greenlit in 2021 as part of a company-wide effort at Warner Bros. to create feature films specifically for HBO Max.
According to reports, the film cost about $70 million to make, while some suggesting it was more than $100 million. It was carrying out test screenings for audiences in anticipation of a late 2022 debut, and would have made it among the most expensive cinematic castoffs ever.
Those tests were said to be so poor that the studio decided to scrap the production entirely, in order to preserve brand integrity.
Studio insiders, however, insist the decision to axe ‘Batgirl’ was not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers, but by the desire for the studio’s slate of DC features to be at a blockbuster scale, added the report.
‘Batgirl’ was budgeted to screen in homes on HBO Max, and not for a major global release in theaters. The initial $75 million production budget for the project, which finished principal photography earlier this year and was in post-production, reached $90 million, partly due to COVID-related delays and protocols.
The decision to shelve the project entirely still comes as a shock, as studios prefer to get at least some return on their investment. It also comes as Warner Bros. is still deciding what to do about ‘The Flash,’ a DC adaptation created – and budgeted – specifically for theatrical release in 2023.
The film has been plagued by repeated allegations of abuse and misconduct by its star, Ezra Miller.
Along with Grace, J.K. Simmons plays Barbara’s father, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and Michael Keaton reprises his role as Batman. Brendan Fraser was cast as the villain, Firefly, and Grace told Variety Magazine in April that she had preliminary discussions with El Arbi and Fallah about what a sequel “could be.”
“There’s crazy stunts, crazy drops,” Grace said of the film. “She’s a biker chick, so you’re going to see her do a bunch of badassery… There were a lot of long days, but it was so worth it,” reported Variety Magazine.
Also getting scrapped is ‘Scoob!: Holiday Haunt,’ a sequel to the 2020 film ‘Scoob!’.
Footage for the animated adaptation of the ‘Scooby-Doo’ series was showcased in a sizzle reel for HBO Max back in December 2021. According to reports, the production had cost Warner Bros. $40 million.