Amidst an ever-changing release schedule for Warner Bros' DCEU, Leslie Grace seemed to be set to make her debut in the long-awaited Batgirl solo movie. But for all the excitement that's built up around this release, it's dealt with its fair share of problems as well.
Originally set for a release exclusively on HBO Max, Batgirl was later moved to a big-screen debut long after filming for the bat-centric solo movie came to an end. Then, in the middle of Warner Bros.' public merger with Discovery, the new outing had its release delayed to after Black Adam and Shazam!: Fury of the Gods close the year out for Warner Bros.
With this push keeping Batgirl out of the public eye longer than expected, fans are certainly anxious to find out more about this new take on the Caped Crusader. However, a recent stream of news releases adds even more confusion to what's going on with Barbara Gordon and crew within the DCEU.
Batgirl Movie Reportedly Removed From Schedule
The New York Post reported that Warner Bros. has removed the upcoming Batgirl movie from its release schedule despite the project's $70 million price tag.
A top Hollywood source reportedly informed the outlet that the new solo film has been "shelved" by Warner Bros., meaning that it may never release in theaters or on HBO Max.
The report indicates reactions to the Batman spin-off were so bad that Warner Bros. decided to abandon the film.
The Wrap added to the legitimacy of the original report with its own information, indicating that Warner Bros. is heavily focused on big screen blockbusters that are seen as "big theatrical event films," and the studio doesn't see Batgirl as that kind of event. The outlet attributed this to Batgirl not being written or produced as a film that would be released theatrically.
Though the film received a budget bump and reshoots, the leaders at Warner Bros. reportedly didn't believe these efforts worked to improve the film. The report noted that the studio does want to work with starring actress Leslie Grace again, along with directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
The Hollywood Reporter corroborated the claims, stating that the move comes due to Warner Bros. Discovery's new CEO David Zaslav wanting to cut costs and the company's new strategy viewing big-budget films as not suitable for release on streaming exclusively. Also on the chopping block was the animated film Scoob!: Holiday Haunt.
Deadline further confirmed the reports, indicating that the movie will not be released on any platform, even though Warner Bros. "is in the final stages of post-production" for Batgirl right now.
Variety also added that the film was not scrapped because of its quality or 'the commitment of the filmmakers," but because of the studio's passionate desire to have every DC movie be "at a blockbuster scale." This seems to indicate that there will be no live-action movies from the DC Universe that are set for an HBO Max release from now on.
What Is Warner Bros.' Plan for DC Movies?
To put it bluntly, this decision is a difficult blow for DC fans who had been looking forward to seeing Batgirl's live-action debut for the past two years.
This new solo film was set to add even more layers and depth to DC's growing Multiversal storyline with the inclusion of Michael Keaton's Batman alongside a thrilling newcomer in Leslie Grace. The film's directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, even spoke exclusively with The Direct about how their film would tie together so much of DC's extensive movie history through this unique adventure.
Now, although this decision is sure to be seen as a negative for many fans, it does indicate where Warner Bros. wants to go with its future DC movies.
These movies will all almost certainly be of the same scale as upcoming outings like Black Adam, especially continuing into next year with both Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and The Flash. Even though the studio initially hoped to try expanding to a unique model with streaming movies, new Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav is intent on making sure the studio can keep up financially with major competitors like Marvel Studios.
Whether any version of Batgirl is released to the public remains a mystery, as does the direction for Warner Bros.' shared DC universe as a whole. Hopefully, there will be some clarification on those plans in the coming months, but after this news, it's hard to decipher what may be on the way from this troubled franchise as the merger with Discovery settles further.