Entertainment

Warner Bros. axes ‘Batgirl’ won’t launch a $90 million HBO Max movie

NEW YORK In a very unusual move that shook Hollywood, Warner Bros. canceled the planned “Batgirl” movie for HBO Max, opting to shelve the $90 million film while the reorganized studio revamps its approach to streaming and DC Comics movies.

The studio ultimately decided that the nearly completed “Batgirl” deserved neither a streaming debut nor a theatrical release. Warner Bros., on the other hand, opted to completely cancel the movie starring “In the Heights” star Leslie Grace as Batgirl and co-starring as Batgirl. Michael Keaton (returning as Batman), JK Simmons and Brendan Fraser. It was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Production ended in April.

Warner Bros.’ decision, without any obvious parallel in recent Hollywood history, sent shockwaves through the industry. When a movie doesn’t live up to a studio’s expectations, it’s usually sold or quietly dumped with little fanfare. “Batgirl,” greenlit before WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery Inc., simply won’t see the light of day.

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“The decision not to release Batgirl reflects a strategic shift in our leadership regarding the DC universe and HBO Max,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement, adding that Grace is “an incredibly talented actor and this decision it’s not a reflex.” of his performance”.

The filmmakers learned of the studio’s decision shortly before the story broke late Tuesday. An early cut of “Batgirl” had recently gone through a screening test. And while their scores weren’t great, poor test results weren’t uncommon for Warner Bros. releases.’ DC and neither is the post-production drama. Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” was cut and re-edited by Joss Whedon before a fan campaign led to HBO Max’s eventual release of a Snyder edit. 2016’s poorly received “Suicide Squad” was followed by James Gunn’s 2021 re-release, similarly titled “The Suicide Squad.”

“We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it,” El Arbi and Fallah said in a statement on Wednesday. “As directors, it is essential that our work is shown to the public, and although the film was far from finished, we wish that fans around the world had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film for themselves. Maybe one day insha ‘Allah (God willing).”

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The directors signed their statement, posted on Instagram, “Batgirl For Life.”

Under the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, Warner Bros. is changing its cost-cutting and movie release strategy. Under previous chief executive Jason Kilar and partly in response to the pandemic, the studio implemented day-and-date releases in 2021, opening movies simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Other films, such as “Batgirl,” were produced exclusively for HBO Max.

This year, Warner Bros. returned to exclusive theatrical windows for at least 45 days before sending movies to HBO Max. While “Batgirl” isn’t as expensive as many superhero movies, which typically cost between $150 million and $200 million, it’s a bigger-budget movie for an HBO Max title. Zaslav maintained that bigger budget films are better served by a theatrical release. But marketing a movie like “Batgirl” to that kind of release would require tens of millions more. Warner Bros. Discovery will report second-quarter earnings on Thursday.

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Warner Bros. also dropped “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt,” an almost-completed sequel to “Scoob!” of 2020. Producer and writer Tony Cervone confirmed in an Instagram post that “the movie is pretty much done and it went really well. I’m beyond heartbroken.”

The cancellation of “Batgirl” comes as Warner Bros. is trying to revamp its DC Films operations. While “The Batman” earlier this year did well with $770.8 million in ticket sales, Warners’ DC releases have been erratic and plagued by controversy. “The Flash,” which opens next June, stars Ezra Miller, who has been arrested twice this year in Hawaii, in a case of disorderly conduct and on suspicion of assault.

Warner Bros. hopes to reorganize and reset its DC pipeline, going bigger, not smaller with rival Marvel. The more modest-scale, streaming-only “Batgirl” didn’t fit those plans.

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Warner Bros. axes ‘Batgirl’ won’t launch a $90 million HBO Max movie

Source link Warner Bros. axes ‘Batgirl’ won’t launch a $90 million HBO Max movie

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