In a surprising development, Warner Bros. will no longer release batgirl, the DC movie that has already finished filming and was supposed to hit HBO Max this year. The unusual move comes after a change in leadership at Warner, with the newly installed CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, prioritizing cost-cutting measures and refocusing Warners on creating theatrical films rather than streaming projects, as was a priority for former WarnerMedia CEO Jason. Kilar.
batgirl was budgeted at around $80 million, with costs rising to nearly $90 million due to COVID-19 protocols. It’s a hefty sum, but significantly less than DC’s theatrical releases, so the film is said to lack the spectacle audiences expect from DC’s fare. (the Batmanreleased in March, had a budget of $185 million, before marketing costs.) Warner also decided to shelve the animated film. Scoob!: Holiday Hauntwhich had a budget in the range of $40 million.
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batgirl stars On the heights Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl – the first Latina to play the role – and hails from bad boys for life filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Its cast also includes Michael Keaton, back as Batman, JK Simmons as Barbara’s father, Commissioner James Gordon and Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly. O New York Post first reported batgirl would be scrapped.
“The decision not to release Batgirl reflects the strategic shift in our leadership as it pertains to the DC and HBO Max universe,” said a spokesperson for Warner Bros. in a statement. “Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actress and this decision is not a reflection of her acting. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of batgirl and Scooby! Festive Haunt and their respective casts and look forward to collaborating with everyone again in the near future.”
Insiders say big-budget movies made directly for streaming no longer make financial sense under the company’s new strategy. In June, Zaslav hired Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy of MGM to run Warner, replacing Toby Emmerich.
The leadership of Warner Bros. Discovery was looking to find $3 billion in cost savings following the closing of the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger in April. Major cuts along the way for the conglomerate included the CNN+ streaming service, which cost $300 million before the plug was pulled a month after launch, and JJ Abrams’ expensive HBO original. underworldthat intended to have a budget of more than $200 million.
Meanwhile, HBO Max has reduced its programming focus area to originals, cutting back The Gordita Chronicles after a single season, as part of a strategy moving away from live-action kids and family programming. Linear networks under the umbrella of Warner Bros. Discovery, like TNT and TBS, have also had originals cut in recent months.
Under Kilar, Warner broke the theaters window, sending its 2021 day and date to HBO Max in a yearlong experiment. Now, Zaslav appears to be planning a total turnaround by stressing the importance of cinema over streaming in terms of original films.
batgirl traveled a winding road to this point. Joss Whedon initially signed on to write and direct in 2017, then dropped out a year later. Batgirl’he directors, who work under the name Adil & Bilall, embarked on 2021 as they were on the verge of revitalizing the bad boys franchise.
In January of this year, Grace shared the first photo of herself in costume, along with a quote from the comic book Batgirl: First Year: “I use their expectations against them. That will be their weakness. Is not mine. Let everyone underestimate me… And when their guard is down and their pride is rising, let me kick their ass.”
August 2, 20:28 Updated to include a statement from Warner Bros.
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