There’s been a lot of anticipation about the Batgirl movie that was due to come from Warner Bros. next year. Leslie Grace was taking on the title role, the first black actor to play the part on screen and there was added interest in the fact that Michael Keaton would be reprising his role as the Caped Crusader himself. Some thought it would receive a theatrical release, some thought it would be a good candidate to stream. Recently it was believed that the film, originally budgeted around the $70m mark but costing more because of COVID delays, would be seen online in the US but would be getting a cinematic release in territories like the UK.
It seems like everyone was wrong because, as of this moment and a report in the New York Post and industry website Deadline – Batgirl won’t be getting any release.
Frustratingly, this appears to be more to do with changes at Warner Bros. than the film itself than any perceived lack of quality of the film – though early word has been decidely mixed. The movie had already completed shooting and was in the final stages of post-production, ready for an early 2023 release of one sort or another, but no more. Warners have, in recent months, been trying to get a clearer view of what their DC footprint should be. Many DC-related, comic-inspired films simply haven’t had the impact that Marvel has had with their collective universe and the individual DC entries have often rubbed against each other in contradictory ways rather than combined into a cohesive whole. Warners have been looking for a way to decide which films should get cinematic releases, which should be streamed and which simply don’t fit into the wider picture – and it seems Batgirl is a casualty of that, with Warners and DC Films wanting to tilt towards higher-budgeted ($90m+) productions according to Deadline. There was also the speculation that Michael Keaton’s appearance would be connected to a storyline in The Flash movie – which is still on the schedules – but is perhaps in even more trouble given the repeated of-screen incidents involving its star Ezra Miller. Whether The Flash will ultimately make it to screens is still open to question and investigations.
DC and Warners haven’t made any official statement at time of writing, but the news appears accurate. However $70m+ is a lot of money to write-off, so there may be hope it will see the light of day somewhere down the line.
Another film scrapped from Warners schedules amid the shuffle for profits is the animated Scoob!: Holiday Haunt which joins the axed streaming service CNN+ (which lasted barely a week), and J.J. Abrams’ planned (and very expensive) HBO original drama Demimonde.
UPDATED with statement from DC/Warners:
“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. 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.”