Batgirl, the HBO Max film that has cost around $90 million to make, has reportedly been completely shelved by HBO’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, despite being almost finished.
The film has apparently failed to please audiences in the first test screenings, which has led to it being shelved to prevent it from becoming a huge flop, according to The Wrap.
Collider also reported that they spoke to people who saw the unfinished movie, who told them it was a huge disappointment and looked cheap in comparison to other films.
Very rarely does an almost completed movie fail to get any sort of release, especially when it cost $90 million, and especially when it’s based on very popular IP such as Batman and his adjacent friends and foes.
In fact, Batgirl was supposed to connect to the bigger DC Extended Universe, with J.K. Simmons returning as Commissioner James Gordon, a part he played in both versions of Justice League. Michael Keaton, who played Batman in Tim Burton‘s 1989 and 1992 films, was also involved with the project in some sort of extended cameo role.
The film also featured Brendan Fraser, Ivory Acquino, and Leslie Grace as the title character, with a script by Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey) and direction from Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys For Life), so it’s not like this was intended to be some cheap throwaway thing.
Batgirl was being developed exclusively for HBO Max, with a smaller budget than big DC productions produced for theatrical releases. That might explain Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to shelve the project, as the final result seems to have been deemed inferior to other superhero movies that the company is taking to cinemas.
Although that should have been obvious from the jump, as the big superhero movies that get theatrical releases have budgets around triple the size of Batgirl.
THR reports that the studio has also canned animated film Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, and both moves are a part of new cost-saving measures for the studio. Though maybe not spending the money on the projects in the first place would be a better plan?
Batgirl had some hype behind it, so this will be mightily disappointing for fans who were excited to see the movie. While the unfinished product might eventually leak out in some form, it won’t be seen by anywhere near the amount of people who would have watched it on HBO Max.
This isn’t the first snag HBO Max’s plan to unite various DC projects has had, as the status of The Flash movie is hanging in the air following Ezra Miller‘s arrest in Hawaii for public misconduct, which has reportedly led to Warner Bros. Discovery reevaluating his future inside the company.
Both of these projects were to signal the return of Keaton as Batman for the first time in over thirty years. It’s possible his return to the cape and cowl will be for nothing.
It’s possible that Warner Bros. Discovery changes their mind about Batgirl – perhaps this news generates more curiosity about the project among audiences – but if they think the movie is so bad/cheap that it will look bad for them to release it, it will stay on the shelf.
The next DC movies to be released are Black Adam starring Dwayne Johnson, which hits cinemas on Friday, October 21, and sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which arrives on Wednesday, December 21. We now wait for any further news regarding Batgirl and how its cancellation may potentially affect the larger interconnected DCEU.