“Batgirl” directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are in shock over the abrupt axing of their comic book tentpole. Warner Bros. announced Aug. 3 that it would not be releasing the $90 million “Batgirl” in theaters or on its HBO Max streamer despite the movie being fully shot and in post-production. The filmmaking duo, best known for helming “Bad Boys for Life” and episodes of “Ms. Marvel,” reacted on social media to the film’s shelving.
“We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it,” the directing duo wrote in a statement. “As directors, it is critical that our work 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. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.”
The statement continues, “Our amazing cast and crew did a tremendous job and worked so hard to bring Batgirl to life. We are forever grateful to have been part of that team. It was a dream to work with such fantastic actors like Michael Keaton, J.K. Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Corey Johnson, Rebecca Front and especially the great Leslie Grace, who portrayed Batgirl with so much passion, dedication and humanity.”
“In any case, as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids, it was a privilege and an honor to have been a part of the DCEU, even if it was for a brief moment,” the statement concludes. “Batgirl For Life.”
Studio insiders told Variety after the film was killed that Warner Bros.’ decision to not release the movie was not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers. Instead, the new regime at Warner Bros. Discovery wants its DC superhero features to be at a blockbuster scale, which “Batgirl” was not because it was originally conceived specifically for streaming on HBO Max.
Variety also reported that a tax incentive was a driving force behind the decision to kill “Batgirl.” According to the report: “Warner Bros. will almost certainly take a tax write-down, seen internally as the most financially sound way to recoup the costs (at least, on an accountant’s ledger). It could justify that by chalking it up to a post-merger change of strategy. Doing so, however, would mean that Warner Bros. cannot monetize either movie — no HBO Max debut, no sale to another studio.”
Read El Arbi and Fallah’s statement on “Batgirl” in the social media post below.