Warner Bros. has finally made a statement about the permanent cancellation of two multi-million dollar projects, Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt. Essentially, according to Deadline, the decision comes from a desire to re-energize the DC Extended Universe, and some of the character reveals and plot points in Batgirl didn’t line up with the larger theatrical strategy for the comics franchise.
Pivoting away from the strategy that former Warner Bros executive Jason Kilar attempted to push during the pandemic, the new leadership at Warner Bros. has decided that growing streaming subscribers is no longer a major focus for the company, stating that stakeholders prefer to see theatrical profits than subscription numbers. Essentially the company scrapped both films in order to help balance the books, a decision that execs have called “purchase accounting.”
The entire thing is a baffling talk-around that seems like an entirely reductive ‘cut our losses’ strategy that devalues the work of artists that have spent a lot of time and effort on these films. Batgirl also had a massive slate of talent backing it up starring Leslie Grace, J.K. Simmons, Brendan Fraser, and Michael Keaton.
While the studio has said that this is an unusual decision, it does throw some people for a loop. Besides the optics of cancelling the Latina-led film, the decision also has caused some concern over the fate of films like Blue Beetle and Black Canary, both of which feel to be on the same level of production as Batgirl — and not really designed to “compete with DC’s massive tentpole blockbusters.”
Warner Bros Discovery released this statement, from the original article: “The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”