The DC Comics film Batgirl will be completely “shelved” by Warner Bros. a top Hollywood source told The New York Post.
The film, made under a previous regime, was initially designed to be an HBO Max release, and then was being considered for theatrical distribution. Due to COVID issues and shutdowns, the budget ballooned.
The leaders of the studio determined ultimately in spite of reshoots and increased budget, did not work, according to insiders. The new owners and management are committed to making DC titles big theatrical event films, and Batgirl isn’t that.
Warner Bros. Discovery is working to elevate DC Films to be seen on the big screen. Batgirl had not been scripted or produced as a theatrical film.
The reportedly $70 million movie (the source said the budget was actually more than $100 million), which was doing test screenings for audiences in anticipation of a late 2022 debut, would rank among the most expensive cinematic castoffs ever.
Those tests were said to be so poorly received by moviegoers that the studio decided to cut its losses and run, for the sake of the brand’s future. It’s a DC disaster.
“They think an unspeakable ‘Batgirl’ is going to be irredeemable,” the source said.
The movie was set to star Leslie Grace, the actor, known for her breakout role In the Heights, as Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl.
J. K. Simmons was set to reprise the role of classic Batman character Commissioner James Gordon. Also set to feature in the film was Brendan Fraser as Garfield Lynns / Firefly: A sociopathic pyromaniac and Jacob Scipio, Rebecca Front, Corey Johnson, and Ethan Kai in undisclosed roles.
It had also been confirmed that Michael Keaton‘s Batman would be making an appearance in the film.
Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are directing Batgirl, from a script by Christina Hodson, the DC mainstay behind Birds of Prey and the upcoming The Flash. Kristin Burr is producing.
While plot details are under wraps, it is known that Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, will be the character behind the cape in this version. Gordon is the most established version of the Batgirl character and was first introduced in 1961 as Betty Kane.
It is unknown at this point whether the movie is set in the same universe as Batman and Batman Returns, or if its set entirely in its own universe and Keaton’s Batman is just popping in from across space and time.
Filming initially took place in Glasgow, Scotland, from November 2021 to March 2022.
Originally set for a release exclusively on HBO Max, Batgirl was later moved to a big-screen debut long after filming for the bat-centric solo movie came to an end. Then, in the middle of Warner Bros.’ public merger with Discovery, the new outing had its release delayed until at least 2023.