Warner Bros. axes $90-million ‘Batgirl’ film for HBO Max

Warner Bros. has scrapped plans to launch a virtually completed “Batgirl” film that was deliberate for the streaming service HBO Max, in line with two individuals accustomed to the matter who weren’t approved to talk publicly.

The Burbank film studio had completed capturing the DC superhero spinoff, which value an estimated $90 million to make.

However the film fell wanting what the corporate wished for its key comedian e-book franchise and not match with the studio’s movie technique, the sources stated.

“Batgirl” was initially commissioned as a straight-to-streaming movie, as a part of a broader plan to make use of the DC franchise to spice up subscriber numbers for HBO Max.

On the time, Warner Bros. was a part of AT&T-owned WarnerMedia, run by Jason Kilar, who wished a number of authentic movies made particularly for the direct-to-consumer platform. Kilar left the corporate forward of its mixture with Discovery Inc. in a $43-billion deal that closed this 12 months.

Now, Warner Bros. has a special company mandate as a part of the brand new Warner Bros. Discovery whose chief govt, David Zaslav, has been open about his view that motion pictures carry out higher on streaming after they first premiere solely in film theaters.

With a manufacturing price range of tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, releasing “Batgirl” direct to streaming made little sense financially, one individual near the corporate stated. However the film, as scripted and produced, additionally wasn’t a large enough of a spectacle to advantage a full-blown theatrical launch.

The movie, which forged “In the Heights” star Leslie Grace within the title position, was conceived with the small display in thoughts. And whereas $90 million is hardly chump change, it’s far lower than the $150 million to $200 million studios sometimes spend to supply huge superhero motion pictures earlier than advertising prices. Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” had an estimated price range of $185 million and was launched in theaters for 45 days earlier than it debuted for streaming.

“Batgirl” was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who had beforehand labored on the acclaimed Disney+ superhero collection “Ms. Marvel.” Alongside Grace, the forged included J.Okay. Simmons, Michael Keaton and Brendan Fraser.

Axing a virtually completed film, particularly one with such a excessive profile, is extremely uncommon. Selecting to not launch a movie of that dimension means the corporate must eat the prices. However a minimize of the movie examined poorly in screenings, one other individual accustomed to the matter stated. Quite than spend further cash on a theatrical marketing campaign, the corporate determined to take a write-off.

Representatives for Warner Bros. and Warner Bros. Discovery declined to remark.

The choice, first reported by the New York Put up, comes as Warner Bros. Discovery ready to report quarterly earnings this week. Zaslav has promised Wall Road $3 billion in value financial savings from the merger, however one of many individuals near the corporate stated that scrapping “Batgirl” was not a money-saving measure. The corporate has additionally shelved a “Scoob!” sequel that was deliberate for HBO Max.

HBO and HBO Max reported a mixed 76.8 million subscribers on the finish of the primary quarter of 2022, making it one of many extra formidable opponents to Netflix and Disney+.