In what may be one of the most shocking news in Hollywood in recent years, Warner. Bros. has decided to shelve Batgirl and will not get either theatrical or HBO Max release according to TheWrap. The studio also pulled the plug on the animated film Scoob!: Holiday Haunt which was intended for an exclusive HBO Max release.
The surprising move from the studio was made despite already spending around $90 million and in the final stages of post-production. Prior to the decision, there were plans for the film to release theatrically instead of the original HBO Max release when it was greenlighted by the previous regime. So why did Warner Bros. decide to shelve the film overall?
The studio's spokesperson released a statement regarding the decision where they explained that it came as a result of the new leadership's change of strategy and iterated that it has nothing to do with the performance of Leslie Grace, who was set to star as the titular hero.
"The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance," the Warner Bros. spokesperson said. "We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future."
However, according to Variety's report, there was more to the studio's statement on why they decided to cancel the film's release. With the studio being in the new regime under Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, they are changing their strategy by committing to put their films for theatrical release first before moving to HBO Max, unlike the previous regime which was focused on building up the streaming platform.
As a result, Batgirl found itself in a trick spot since the studio doesn't think that it's not "big enough to feel worthy of a major theatrical release" nor "small enough to make economic sense in an increasingly cutthroat streaming landscape." If they decided to go for a theatrical release, it would require them to spend additional costs for global marketing.
With the decision of shelving the two films, it will almost certainly take a tax write-down on both projects which for them is the most financially viable way to recoup their costs although it would also mean that the studio will not be able to monetize them on either HBO Max or sale to another studio.
So far, none of the people involved in the film have publicly made a statement on the film's cancellation. However, some fans noticed that Grace has removed the first look photo of her costume on her Instagram account. Deadline also reported that directors Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah were in Morroco celebrating the former's wedding when they heard the news.
It is unfortunate to hear about the film's cancellation considering that it's almost near completion and it could have been a major breakout film for Grace. Right now, the news has received a lot of backlash from fans who have been looking forward to seeing the film and petitioning to have them reverse the decision.
There are reports that claim that Warner Bros. is planning to make a new deal with the directors and Grace to continue working with them on other projects. It remains to be seen if that will actually happen in the aftermath of the shocking decision. It's also unknown yet if this also affects Michael Keaton's future in the DCEU after his appearance in The Flash.
The story is not yet over for the news and we might be hearing more information in the next several days. It would be interesting to see if the studio will also make drastic decisions in their other projects and whether it will also affect their relationship with the other DC filmmakers.
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