Sorry, “Batgirl” fans, the previously announced film adaptation from Warner Bros. has officially been axed, multiple reports confirm. The $90 million, nearly-finished production, inspired by the DC comics character of the same name, will not premiere theatrically or on any of the Warner Bros. platforms — including HBO Max, which was expected to debut the movie exclusively.
On Aug. 2, The Hollywood Reporter noted that the surprising “Batgirl” development comes after a change in leadership at Warner Bros. Discovery, as CEO David Zaslav has pivoted to prioritizing theatrical features over straight to streaming releases for cost-cutting measures. The outlet also reported that insiders say the big-budget HBO Max films made for streaming “no longer make sense” under the company’s new regime.
“Batgirl” got the green light from Warner Bros. in 2021 as part of a company-wide effort to produce films strictly for HBO Max, Variety reported. It was first announced back in 2017, but the film later brought on a brand-new production team, Deadline previously reported — which included “Bad Boys For Life” directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and Christina Hodson as its screenwriter. “In the Heights” actor Leslie Grace was set to portray the film’s titular character, as she beat out contenders like Isabella Merced, Zoey Deutch, and Haley Lu Richardson for the leading role.
The superhero movie was set to revolve around Barbara Gordon as Batgirl and dive into her journey of self-discovery. During the “Batgirl” panel at DC’s 2021 FanDome, IGN reported that Hodson said: “What’s kind of funny about Barbara [Gordon] and Batgirl is that in this story, she’s discovering Batgirl for the first time. So she’s getting to explore a duality she’s always had in her personality, but it’s this whole new side of her personality, a side that’s more daring and slightly less normal side of her that we just get to have fun and play with.”
If “Batgirl” would’ve seen the light of day, DC fans would’ve gotten a closer look at Grace in her Batgirl gear beyond the first-look image she shared on social media on Jan. 14. “‘I use their expectations against them. That will be their weakness. Not mine. Let them all underestimate me…'” she captioned the image. “‘And when their guard is down, and their pride is rising, let me kick their butts.’ – Batgirl, Year One 🦇 #Batgirl”
Image Source: Getty / John Lamparski