From the studio that actually released Catwoman, Batman v Superman, and basically most of the rest of the DCEU comes the news that there is, in fact, a film so bad that it will not release it. The New York Post (via The Wrap) is reporting that Warner Bros. Discovery, which is new management since Batgirl was greenlit, has no plans to release the movie in theaters or on HBO Max, where it was originally intended to land. (Update: Variety is confirming the movie will not be released, but it says it has to do with studio direction as opposed to film quality.)
Batgirl has had a troubled road since it was first announced as an HBO Max film. The movie was in the hands of Joss Whedon at one point but after his downfall got moved around until Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life) were given the go-ahead to make the movie. Leslie Grace was cast as Batgirl and the plan was to introduce the character into DC’s multiverse, even having Michael Keaton play Batman/Bruce Wayne in the film. The movie was originally intended to be a lower-budget affair, but thanks to the creative changes and COVID breaks the budget reportedly grew to $90 million. While that number isn’t huge for a theatrical superhero film, it was well over what one would expect for an HBO Max release.
The reports find that, despite Batgirl being nearly complete and the studio loving both the directors and Grace, the movie won’t be seeing the light of day. The Wrap states that studio leadership believes the movie just “did not work,” and the New York Post claims test screenings went badly enough that there was a fear it could cause brand damage. The Wrap further elaborates that the studio’s new leadership wants to make sure that DC movies are all big-budget theatrical films moving forward. Of course, this is in stark contrast to Marvel, which has dropped a plethora of superhero series on Disney+ at or above the quality of its cinematic films.
Barring some future reversal, it seems that the Batgirl movie is a victim of a studio leadership change. One wonders what this could mean for the future of the Blue Beetle movie as well, which star Cobra Kai‘s Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes and is currently slated for a theatrical release.