Well, in all our years of commenting on movies we have never seen anything quite like this. Sure, movies have been cancelled before. Others have their theatrical release pulled and get dumped direct to DVD. But a major studio picture that was finished shooting and deep into post-production? This has just happened with Batgirl.
After a rumor ripped through Tinseltown yesterday, Warner Bros. has now confirmed it. They have killed Batgirl stone dead, no-matter how close to complete it was.
The movie stars… or rather starred… Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon, Michael Keaton returning as Batman, JK Simmons reprising his Gordon role and Brendan Fraser as the villain. That is a big cast. This is a BIG deal.
Directed by Ms Marvel and Bad Boys III directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the film was initially greenlit in 2021 for HBO Max. It was then shifted to a theatrical release as part of their strategy to boost the DCEU and focus on premium output.
According to the New York Post, who broke the story, the issue was money. The budget had climbed over $100 million and the movie was generating little or negative buzz. It had performed so badly in early test screenings that execs felt it was “irredeemable” and Warner Bros. daringly concluded that a cancellation and subsequent tax right down was a better bet than a loss making release.
Hollywood exploded in disbelief. Nobody has ever seen anything quite like this. Rival studios are shocked. Those working on the movie are said to be devastated by the ruthlessness of the decision.
A minute after this story posted got a call from a rival studio exec who was floored by move. "Worked in this town for three decades and this is some unprecedented shit right here." https://t.co/A3aBLPulWz
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) August 2, 2022
Everybody knows who is behind this. New Warner Discovery CEO David Zaslav. He pulled the plug on CNN+ without hesitation when he was over there. Now he is demonstrating the same ruthlessness with Warner Bros.
He has already booted JJ Abrams plans for the DCEU into touch and demanded the DC part of the operation sort itself out, making it clear their shaky stewardship of valuable properties is no longer acceptable.
Where does this leave The Flash, with Ezra Miller’s well-publicised personal issues and the links to Batgirl via Simmons and Keaton in their roles?
The Flash was said to close off the “Snyder-verse” of the DCEU permanently via use of the multiverse, clearing the way for a new start. Is Zaslav giving up on that and just sweeping it all aside?
Either way, we are pretty sure that somehow this will all be our fault soon. You, us, everyone online and in fandom. That’s how this usually works, right?