In a stunning turn of events, HBO Max’s Batgirl movie which was shot months ago and supposedly nearing completion, will not be released after all. According to reports, Warner Bros. plans to shelve the movie indefinitely — despite the fact that they spent at least $75 million on it (and perhaps as much as $90 million after Covid-related delays get factored in).
The movie, which was to star 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 movie 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 became a victim of the change of leadership at the company, which was recently acquired by Discovery. The new folks in charge have shifted their philosophy when it comes to movies. The new Warner Bros. Discovery wants to refocus on big-budget tentpoles for theaters — not exclusives for streaming, as was the practice in recent years under the previous 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” 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.
Theoretically, Warner Bros. could still have put the movie on HBO Max without making any major alterations. By instead putting the movie on the shelf, it enables the new combined company to “take a tax write-down” on the film as well as a computer-animated Scooby-Doo movie that was also in production and is also getting canned. If they released the film in any way, they couldn’t do that.
It’s still a shocking bit of news for a movie that a few months ago looked like perhaps 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 wild, but that’s apparently what’s happening.
Batgirl is scheduled to be released on HBO Max … never. Unless something changes, we may just never see it.
DC Comics That Can’t Become DC Movies
These popular DC Comics titles can never get their own DC movies. (Sorry.)