Warner Bros. Boss Downplays Batgirl Cancellation

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Warner Bros, Batgirl

Batgirl's unceremonious cancellation made headlines in recent weeks, earning a string of different reactions online. In an official statement, Warner Bros. Discovery shared that the decision to cancel Batgirl “reflects [their] leadership’s strategic shift” and that it was “not a reflection of [Leslie Grace’s] performance.” 

The surprising move from Warner Bros. Discovery even caught the attention of MCU filmmakers as well as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. An anonymous Batgirl actor also didn't hold back upon learning about the cancellation, describing the top executive as an "imbecile" while also saying that his "cowardice is breathtaking."

Now, another interesting remark about Batgirl's cancellation has emerged online. 

Warner Bros. Boss Opens Up About Batgirl's Cancellation

Batman, Batgirl

Warner Bros. CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels, via Deadline, shared that the company's decision to cancel DC's Batgirl movie was "blown out of proportion" by the press. 

The top executive was in attendance at the Bank of America Media, Communications, and Entertainment Conference, where he acknowledged the intense criticism of the company's new regime since Warner Bros. and Discovery's $43 billion merger. 

When asked whether the company's reputation in the talent community and agency business had taken a hit due to its cancellation spree of HBO Max projects, Wiedenfels said that "media likes to talk about media, I guess."

The move to cancel Batgirl earned a lot of ire online, with a good chunk of the critics noting the disappointing optics of ditching a film starring Leslie Grace, a Latina actress, in the lead role. However, this discussion point didn't emerge during the conference. 

Instead, Wiedenfels pointed out that the combined company is "continuing to make progress" toward its goal of $3 billion in cost savings from the merger. This comes after the studio's string of layoffs in the past months, with one former HBO Max employee saying that it "amplified the lack of diversity at HBO" and "HBO is the most homogenous."

The Warner Bros. executive then mentioned that the move of bringing together assets has been a more complex undertaking than it appeared. Wiedenfels argued that it's more like five entities blending, noting Warner Bros., HBO, Turner, CNN, and Discovery. 

Jessica Reif Erlich, one of the discussion's moderators and a BofA analyst, said that Batgirl's cancellation seemed to her like a "prudent business decision."  Erlich asked Wiedenfels if it represented a reset of the strategy for DC to which the executive replied: 

"No. … There’s a new team coming in, forming a view, providing a financial framework to assess these things."

Wiedenfels pressed that the company will "continue to make significant investments:"

"The focus is, on a go-forward basis here, we’re spending more than ever in the history of the two legacy companies on content. We will continue to make significant investments. We’ll make them differently and with a different financial rigor and a different focus on full utilization across all platforms, etc., but this is the lifeblood of the company and we’ll continue to be investing in it.”

Why This News Made the Batgirl Situation Worse 

The latest comments of Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels about downplaying Batgirl's cancellation are insulting to the cast and crew involved in the movie. At this stage, it wouldn't be surprising if the executive's recent remarks will receive strong reactions from fans.

Wiedenfels' statement further positions Warner Bros. as the villain in the Batgirl saga. 

Moreover, this adds another nail to the Batgirl coffin and it made the issue even worse, considering the emotional reaction of some individuals involved, such as its director and the father of a young actress who appeared in the movie

It cannot be denied that interest in Batgirl has skyrocketed ever since its cancellation, thus proving the point that fans actually want to see the movie. However, Warner Bros. already pulled the plug on the movie, with it holding "funeral screenings" in Burbank, California. 

It was already revealed that Batgirl will not receive the same treatment as Zack Snyder's Justice League, where a director's cut of the movie will be released online.  Still, there could be a future for Leslie Grace's portrayal of the DC hero as the character is rumored to appear in an upcoming DCEU project

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.