‘Batgirl’ movie with Leslie Grace, Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser canceled by Warner Bros. won’t stream on HBO Max

New York — In a highly unusual move that shocked Hollywood, Warner Bros. shelved the planned “Batgirl” film for HBO Max, opting to postpone the $90 million film as the reorganized studio changed its approach to streaming and DC Comics movies. gives.

The studio eventually decided that the nearly completed “Batgirl” didn’t qualify for either a streaming debut or a theatrical release. Warner Bros. is instead opting to write the film entirely, starring “In the Heights” star Leslie Grace as Batgirl and Michael Keaton (returning as Batman), JK Simmons and Brendan Fraser co-star. It was directed by Adil El Arabi and Bilal Falah. Production wrapped in April.

Warner Bros. The decision sent shock waves through the industry with no apparent parallel in recent Hollywood history. When a film doesn’t live up to the studio’s expectations, it is usually sold or thrown away quietly with little fanfare. Before WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery Inc. “Batgirl,” Greenlight, instead simply wouldn’t see the light of day.

“The decision not to release Batgirl reflects a strategic shift in our leadership as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement. of his performance.”

Members of the public walk around the set of ‘Batgirl’ in the Trongate area in Glasgow, Scotland, on January 19, 2022.

Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

The filmmakers learned of the studio’s decision shortly before the story broke late Tuesday. There was a test screening of the opening cut of “Batgirl” recently. And while its scores weren’t good, poor test results have been no less for a Warner Bros. DC release and neither has the post-production drama. Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” was recut and reshot by Joss Whedon, before a fan campaign led to the release of an edit by Snyder on HBO Max. James Gunn had a similarly titled 2021 “The Suicide Squad” after the badly received 2016 “Suicide Squad”.

“We are saddened and shocked by this news. We still can’t believe it,” El Arbi and Falah said in a statement on Wednesday. “As directors, it is important that our work is shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we want fans around the world to have the opportunity to see and embrace the final film for themselves. Maybe That one day they will inshallah (if Allah wills it).”

The directors signed their statement, posted on instagram“Batgirl for Life.”

Wednesday evening, Posted by Grace on Instagram That he is proud of the work he has done in “Batgirl”.

FILE – Leslie Grace attends a screening of “In the Heights” during the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival on June 4, 2021.

Photo, file by Richard Shotwell / InVision / AP

“I feel blessed to be working in the process amidst the great and forged relationships that last a lifetime!” Grace wrote. “To every Batgirl fan – thank you for the love and trust for allowing me to take the cape and be, as Babs best said, ‘My own hero!'”

Under new Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive David Zaslav, Warner Bros. is changing its strategy on film releases and lower costs. Under previous chief executive Jason Killer and partly as a pandemic response, the studio implemented day-to-day releases, starting films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max in 2021. Other films, such as “Batgirl”, were made entirely for HBO Max.

This year, Warner Bros. has returned to special theater windows for at least 45 days before sending movies to HBO Max. While “Batgirl” isn’t as expensive as many superhero movies, which typically cost $150-200 million to make, it is a big-budget movie for the HBO Max title. Zaslav has maintained that big budget films are best served by a theatrical rollout. But that kind of release would require crores and crores to market a film like “Batgirl”. Warner Bros. Discovery is set to report second-quarter earnings on Thursday.

Warner Bros. also postponed “Scoob!: Holiday Hunt”, which is the 2020 “Scoob!” The sequel is almost done. Producer and writer Tony Cervon confirmed an instagram post That “the movie is practically finished and turned out beautifully. I am beyond heartbroken.”

The “Batgirl” cancellation comes as Warner Bros. is trying to revamp its DC Films operations. While “The Batman” did well with $770.8 million in ticket sales earlier this year, Warner’s DC release has been uncertain and riddled with controversy. Released next June, “The Flash” stars Ezra Miller, who has been arrested twice this year in Hawaii for disorderly conduct and on suspicion of assault.

Warner Bros. is hoping to reorganize and reset its DC pipeline — with its rival Marvel no bigger, no smaller. On a more modest scale, the streaming-only “Batgirl” didn’t fit those plans.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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