The US film studio Warner Bros. does not want to release its "Batgirl" film. The studio has confirmed that it will neither be in the cinemas nor be seen on the HBO Max streaming service as originally intended. Filming finished in April and the film was already in post-production. The superhero film's cost to date is estimated at $90 million.
"Batgirl" is considered one of the most expensive canceled film projects in recent Hollywood history. Warner Bros. justified the step with a new orientation of the film studio. Behind the decision not to release "Batgirl" is a "strategic change in our leadership," it said.
Budget was already exceeded
However, the stoppage of the film project could also have been influenced by a disastrous screening in front of a test audience. This is reported by several media unanimously. If a film doesn't live up to a studio's expectations, it's usually written off and released to theaters with little fanfare. "Batgirl", on the other hand, which was given the green light before WarnerMedia merged with the US media group Discovery Inc., will not be shown at all.
According to the "Wall Street Journal", those responsible at Warner Bros. did not expect that the film would ever recoup its production costs. In any case, he had already exceeded his budget: the production was actually planned to cost around 75 million dollars.
Too expensive for the streaming market?
Corona delays led to an excessive budget. This means that "Batgirl" is still cheaper than many other superhero films, which usually cost 150 to 200 million dollars to produce. For Warner Bros. Discovery's new boss, David Zaslav, expensive films are best marketed in cinemas. However, "Batgirl" was never intended for that – it was only planned as a production for the streaming platform HBO Max.
In order to bring a film like "Batgirl" to the cinemas, a double-digit million amount would have to flow into marketing. Since it is apparently too expensive for Warner Bros. to publish only as a streaming offer, the studio now prefers to steam the film, posting the expenses as a loss and thus saving taxes.
Directors are shocked
The directors of the "Batgirl" film were disappointed: "We are saddened and shocked by the news," said Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Maybe one day fans will still get the chance to see "Batgirl".
Leading actress Leslie Grace, who would have starred alongside actor Michael Keaton (as Batman), thanked her fans: "To every 'Batgirl' fan: thank you for the love and faith and for allowing me to put on the cape."
Other films are also on the brink
In addition to the superheroine film, Warner Bros. has other films on the brink: the studio is still wrestling with the question of what to do with "The Flash", also a comic book adaptation. A theatrical release was originally planned for next year. However, the film was halted after repeated allegations of abuse and misconduct against lead actress Ezra Miller.
And also "Scoob! Holiday Haunt", a follow-up project to the production "Scoob!" from 2020, according to US media reports, should be stopped – for reasons similar to "Batgirl". Here the costs are said to be around 40 million dollars. According to the "Hollywood Reporter", expensive film productions for streaming platforms no longer make financial sense after Warner Bros.' new corporate strategy.