The directors of the superhero film “Batgirl” said on Wednesday they were “sad and shocked” that Warner Bros. will leave their film on the shelf instead of releasing it in theaters or distributing it on the streaming service HBO Max – a rare decision from a major studio.
The film is set to premiere sometime this year.
“We still can’t believe it,” Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah said in a joint post on Instagram.
“As directors, it’s critical that our work can be shown to the public, and while the film was far from finished, we wish fans around the world had had the chance to see and see the final film for themselves. embrace it. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.”
Budgeted at about $90 million, “Batgirl” starred Leslie Grace (“In the Heights”) and featured supporting appearances from Michael Keaton (who reprise his role as Batman), JK Simmons, and Brendan Fraser.
Grace spoke about the situation in an Instagram post on Wednesday evening, partial writing: “I’m proud of the love, hard work and intention that all our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film over 7 months in Scotland.”
Arbi and Fallah previously directed the action show “Bad Boys for Life” and were responsible for episodes of the Disney+ Streaming Series “Ms. Marvel.”
In a statement, a Warner Bros. spokesperson said. Pictures: “The decision not to release Batgirl reflects the strategic shift of our leadership regarding the DC universe and HBO Max.”
The spokesperson added that Grace is “an incredibly talented actor and that this decision does not reflect her achievements.” (WarnerMedia is the parent company of Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Max.)
Hollywood studios almost never bury movies that don’t meet creative or financial expectations. In most cases, the film in question is sold to a streaming service without a marketing campaign or quietly dropped in the cinema.
“Batgirl” was sent into production before WarnerMedia merged with Discovery Inc., a company best known for a portfolio of cable channels such as the Food Network and HGTV.
David Zaslav, the head of the combined multimedia conglomerate, could announce broader changes, including a merged version of HBO Max and Discovery+, during a earnings call on Thursday afternoon. Industry insiders are reportedly concerned about layoffs and other cuts.
Zaslav’s vision for the company appears to be dramatically different from that of its previous CEO, Jason Kilar, who invested heavily in streaming and, during the height of the pandemic, instituted simultaneous streaming and theatrical premieres for films like “Dune” and “King.” Richard.”
“Batgirl” was part of a series of projects produced exclusively for HBO Max. Six other films made under those terms, including the Anne Hathaway fantasy “The Witches” and the Seth Rogen comedy “An American Pickle,” appeared to have been removed from the platform in recent days.
Warner Bros. also scrapped plans to release the animated sequel “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt.” Tony Cervone, the film’s producer and writer, confirmed in an Instagram post that the project was “practically finished and turned out beautiful. I’m devastated.”
The films set in the DC Comics universe were a critical and commercial mixed bag. “Wonder Woman” (2017) hit the box office and received strong reviews, while “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016) and the original version of “Suicide Squad” (2016) elicited mostly negative reactions.
Arbi and Fallah wrote in their Instagram post on Wednesday that it was a “privilege and an honor to be part of the [DC film franchise], if only for a moment. Bat girl for life.”