'Irredeemable' Batgirl film scrapped by Warner Bros after poor screen tests

3 August 2022, 19:49

Filming taking in place on the Batgirl film in Glasgow
Filming taking in place on the Batgirl film in Glasgow. Picture: Alamy/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Warner Bros has shelved its upcoming Batgirl film following poor screen-testing results - despite a reported £82 million budget.

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The DC film, which would have starred Michael Keaton, Brendan Fraser and In the Heights star Leslie Grace, was reportedly deemed "irredeemable" in test screenings.

Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah said they were "saddened and shocked" by the news that their film was being scrapped.

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They said in a statement: "As directors, it is critical that our film 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."

Statement by Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
Statement by Batgirl directors. Picture: Twitter

The studio confirmed on Tuesday that the film would never get any release, either theatrically or on HBO Max.

Warner Bros did not comment further on the reasons for Batgirl being cancelled.

But the film did not have the "spectacle that audiences have come to expect from DC fare", according to an insider quoted by industry publication the Hollywood Reporter.

Studio insiders also claimed that the film was scrapped in part because it was set to be released on Warner Bros' streaming service HBO Max. The studio - whose characters also include Batman and Superman - now wants all of its superhero films to be released in the cinema, according to reports.

Industry magazine Variety also reported that Warner Bros would get a tax write-down from cancelling Batgirl that would allow it to claw back some of the costs.

The decision to scrap Batgirl places it among the most expensive films ever to be shelved.

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Others include Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves reimagining Order of the Seven and would have starred Saoirse Ronan, and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, whose cast would have featured Brad Pitt. Both had a reported budget of around £165 million.