UPDATE: New reports from Variety and Deadline suggest that the decision to shelve Batgirl may have been made due to tax purposes rather than the alleged poor quality of the film. It's said that Batgirl did not fit the studio's new strategy regarding superhero tentpole films, feeling "neither big enough to feel worthy of a major theatrical release nor small enough to make economic sense in an increasingly cutthroat streaming landscape.
In response to the news that their film had been cancelled, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah posted an official statement on their Instagram saying that "We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it. As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah."
We will keep you updated as this story progresses. Original article continues below.
Exactly how bad does a superhero blockbuster (that's already in post-production) have to be for its studio to permanently shelve it? When it comes to DC's Batgirl, we'll never know because Warner Bros. Discovery has decided never to release it, according to an exclusive report by the New York Post.
As alleged by a "top Hollywood source", Warner Bros. Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav made the decision to scrap the Batgirl movie entirely following disastrous test screenings of the film – this despite a budget that's purported to have extended beyond $100 million.
It's said the screenings went down so poorly with test audiences that the studio decided to "cut its losses and run, for the sake of the brand’s future," with the Post's source explaining that the studio believes "an unspeakable ‘Batgirl’ is going to be irredeemable."
Is DC's film division in need of rescue?
Batgirl's shock cancellation comes after months of radio silence around the near-finished production, which was not even mentioned during Warner Bros' panel at last month's San Diego Comic-Con.
Of course, the decision to scrap the multimillion-dollar project is not out of character for Zaslav, known as a "ruthless cost-cutter" who recently shut down the $300 million CNN+ streaming service less than a month after launch. Zaslav took on the CEO role following WarnerMedia's merger with Discovery earlier this year.
Still, the news is a huge blow for DC's film production group, which has been beset by troubles and controversies in recent months. These include numerous arrests and allegations surrounding Ezra Miller, star of the upcoming The Flash, and a petition to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom which has already been signed by over 4.6 million people.
Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys For Life, Ms. Marvel), Batgirl stars Leslie Grace (In The Heights) in the title role, alongside J.K. Simmons (Justice League) as Jim Gordon, Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman, and Brendan Fraser as Garfield Lynns / Firefly.
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Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible.
He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.