“We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can't believe it,” El Arbi and Fallah said in a statement Wednesday. “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 (if God wills)."
The directors signed their statement, posted on Instagram, “Batgirl For Life.”
Late Wednesday, Grace posted on Instagram that she was proud of the work that went into “Batgirl."
“I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process!" wrote Grace. “To every Batgirl fan –- THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, ‘my own damn hero!’”
Under new Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive David Zaslav, Warner Bros. is shifting its strategy on film releases and trimming costs. Under previous chief executive Jason Kilar and partly as a pandemic response, the studio implemented day-and-date releases in 2021, opening films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Other films, like “Batgirl," were produced solely for HBO Max.
This year, Warner Bros. has returned to exclusive theatrical windows for at least 45 days before sending movies to HBO Max. While “Batgirl” isn't as pricey as many superhero films, which typically cost $150-200 million to make, it's a bigger budget movie for an HBO Max title. Zaslav has maintained larger budgeted movies are best served by a theatrical rollout. But marketing a movie like “Batgirl” for that kind of release would require tens of millions more. Warner Bros. Discovery is set to report second-quarter earnings Thursday.
Warner Bros. also shelved “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt,” an almost-completed sequel to 2020's "Scoob!" Producer and writer Tony Cervone confirmed wrote in an Instagram post that “the movie is practically finished and turned out beautifully. I am beyond heartbroken.”
The “Batgirl” cancellation comes as Warner Bros. is trying to revamp its DC Films operations. While “The Batman” earlier this year performed well with $770.8 million in ticket sales, Warners' DC releases have been erratic and plagued by controversy. “The Flash,” scheduled for release next June, stars Ezra Miller who has been arrested twice this year in Hawaii, in a disorderly conduct case and on suspicion of assault.
Warner Bros. is hoping to reorganize and reset its DC pipeline — going bigger, not smaller with its rival Marvel. The more modestly scaled, streaming-only “Batgirl” didn't suit those plans.
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