One another day, one more drama in DC.
Six months after wrapping up filming on their $78 million Batgirl movie, Warner Bros. Discovery canceled it. According to accounts, the cast members were taken by surprise because they weren’t given advance notice.
Leslie Grace plays Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, in the DC Extended Universe movie, which was either going to be streamed on HBO Max or released in theaters. In an unexpected turn of events, it will receive neither and is being completely shelved.
But why the quick action? According to sources, the movie started screening with audiences on July 14. While Grace’s performance was praised, the reviews were negative overall. One person with experience in audience testing for the movie compared it to a terrible TV show, while another insisted that it is unquestionably not a theatrical release. DC movies must be distributed theatrically or not at all, according to the current WBD leadership, led by David Zaslav.
Studio executives were faced with the option of spending an additional $7 million to $9 million on postproduction and special effects, as well as possibly more on reshoots, in order to bringBatgirl up to the level of some of DC’s similarly modest bets, such as the upcomingShazam! Fury of the Gods, which has a $125 million budget. No amount of reshoots, editing, or effects, according to the later source, could lift Batgirl to that level, hence it was decided not to waste money on unneeded improvements.
The studio declined to comment on this report, but on Tuesday it released a statement regarding Grace in which it referred to her as an extraordinarily brilliant performer and stated that this choice is not a judgment on how she performed. In an early Wednesday morning social media post, Grace responded to the news in her own words. I’m proud of the dedication, perseverance, and love that our amazing cast and devoted team gave our movie over seven months in Scotland, she wrote on Instagram. I consider myself fortunate to have collaborated with legends and created relationships that will last a lifetime.
DC Films has experienced a number of difficulties over the previous 18 months, and has never enjoyed the same level of financial success as Disney’s Marvel movies. The Snyder Cut fandom, whose ranks were subsequently proven to contain a sizable percentage of false accounts, aggressively attacked a number of executives and producers in the run-up to the March 2021 premiere of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max. The company has no intentions to collaborate with Snyder again, although Snyder’s vision may still be seen in some of the next movies, like Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the Aquaman sequel. In addition, this spring’s defamation lawsuit between Amber Heard and her ex-husband Johnny Depp exposed the actress’ tumultuous relationship with the DC universe when the jury found that Heard was almost fired from the movie because of a strained on-screen relationship with Jason Momoa.
Given that J.K. Simmons, who plays Commissioner Gordon, was in the Snyder Cut of Justice League, Batgirl was technically a part of the so-called SnyderVerse. According to a source, documentary filmmaker Leslie Iwerks recently requested to license clips from the 2021 Justice League for a film on the history of DC and was informed there is only one Justice League: the 2017 iteration. This is a telling sign of how far the studio is looking to distance itself from Snyder.
With the upcoming film The Flash, Warner Bros. is likewise in a challenging situation. Ezra Miller, the movie’s star, has been detained several times this year, and his behavior has become more erratic. The studio opted to put a hold on any upcoming projects featuring Miller, including potential cameos in the DC Extended Universe, as happened in the Peacemaker finale in February when Miller made a surprise cameo. The solo The Flash movie is still scheduled for a 2023 release. The threat of other DC movies being cancelled looms now. Supergirl, a project now in development, is not likely to proceed, according to insiders. In the upcoming episode of The Flash, Sasha Calle, who plays the superheroine in a cape, is introduced. The Miller-led tentpole was meant to provide the foundation for Supergirl.
Films outside the DC universe, such as Scoob! Holiday Haunt, have found themselves on the chopping block as Zaslav’s entertainment empire takes shape. Following the Batgirl announcement, press suspicion increased that a LeBron James-produced House Party revival was also being cancelled since its scheduled HBO Max premiere date of July 28 had been covertly changed. However, a reliable source claims that the exact reverse is true and that the comedy is currently prepared for a theatrical release.