When shoving political correctness during movie escapism defies the movie going experience: Warner Bros scraps $100m Batgirl movie after negative audience feedback amid questions of production values and audience appetite for (yet again) woke themes.
Warner Bros has decided not to release its much anticipated Batgirl film after audience test screen reactions were unfavorable. The decision to shelf the DC Comics film comes despite studio heads spending upwards of $100 million in production costs.
The film, starring Latina actress Leslie Grace had been slated to be released on HBO Max later this year, only to be axed after a series of test screenings were panned by audiences, an unnamed source told the New York Post.
Studio execs thought it would hurt the future of the brand if they went ahead with the film’s release, as they seek to streamline the DC Extended Universe.
Batgirl was first given the green-light in 2021 as part of a company-wide effort to create feature films specifically for HBO Max, Variety reports.
It would have starred Leslie Grace in the title role as she battled Brendan Fraser‘s Firefly who turned to a life of crime after he is fired from his job, loses his health insurance and could no longer care for his sick wife.
Forcing the public to accept non traditional roles?
According to those who have seen the now-scrapped film, Michael Keaton‘s Batman was only featured in a few scenes — and did not serve as a mentor to Grace’s Barbara Gordon, and the costumes were subpar.
The film which sought to give gender power to a female heroine, against traditional Batman role-models ultimately failed to captivate audiences and if anything un-necessarily provoked them as studio execs continue to insist on woke identity themes.
‘I’ll say I’m not that surprised Batgirl got canceled as it features a woke Latino Batgirl and Barbara Gordon in a story that sounds downright awful,’ Matt McGloin wrote for Cosmic Book News.
Given the low standard of so much of the content on Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services, and the fact that superhero films have a fanatically loyal audience, it all represents a jaw-dropping failure.
The Batgirl movie (the unspeakable elephant in the room) is only the latest in a long and disastrous line of Hollywood films that have prioritised politically correct values over entertainment. As Robin might say, Holy Woke, Batman!
Batgirl also featured a transgender character, Alysia Yeoh, Barbara Gordon’s flatmate, played by the trans actor Ivory Aquino. The appearance, critics say, is of a film putting its ‘progressive’ values ahead of all other concerns.
And not for the first time. Superhero films — normally somewhere audiences might go to escape our era’s endless culture wars — have increasingly become major repositories of wokery.
WB: Batgirl isn’t good enough to release, we’re going to eat that cost instead and save our brand rep
Sony: We put Morbius, the worst superhero movie since Fant4stic, in theaters TWICE pic.twitter.com/Xojv1ywrHk
— James (@arc_blog) August 2, 2022
$3 billion debt
Filmmakers were told the decision came down to a ‘purchase accounting’ maneuver available to Warner Discovery because the company changed hands earlier this year.
It allows Warner Bros Discovery to not have to carry its losses forward while it tries to pare down its $3 billion in debt, according to Deadline.
As the studio tries to recoup its losses, company officials are moving away from its strategy of releasing big budget movies to encourage subscriptions to HBO Max, and are instead focusing on creating large scale films that could compete in theaters.
By doing so, executives at a variety of production companies have decided, the films would have cultural relevance by the time they arrive on streaming platforms.
It is a marked difference from the Netflix model, which recently spent $200 million to create The Gray Man, an action film from the directors of Avengers: Endgame, which only stayed in the top spot on the site for eight days, according to Indiewire.
But in order to make Batgirl a theater-quality movie, company executives would have to spend vast sums of money to improve the films’ graphics, as well as $80 million in global prints and advertising.
The fact that DC are willing to cancel Batgirl, a movie that’s had ZERO production issues, just to supposedly save a bit of money, but haven’t cancelled The Flash despite that movie’s production being an utter nightmare and its main star being toxic… it’s genuinely bizarre.
— aimée ☆ JLI’s pr manager (@sapphyreblayze) August 2, 2022
Batgirl movie axed but what about all the other toxic films going ahead?
The studio has already spent more than $100 million on the Batgirl film, in which, critics say Grace’s Barbara Gordon dresses up as Batman for Halloween and proceeds to go after terrorists on her own.
The announcement of the Batgirl movie’s cancellation comes on the heels of former Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich exiting his own production company in June. Warner Bros. merged with Discovery following the announcement, with David Zaslav being appointed the new CEO.
Zaslav is now said to be looking for a head to run the failing DC Extended Universe, as executives debate canning an upcoming The Flash film amid allegations of abuse and misconduct by its male star Ezra Miller.
The film was expected to reboot the DC Extended Universe after a series of failing films like Batman v Superman and The Suicide Squad.
Executives now insist Batgirl’s origin film was only scrapped because of the company’s new strategy – saying they would like to work with the producers and Grace again in the future.
‘The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC Universe and HBO Max,’ executives said in a statement according to Variety.
‘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.’
Batgirl’s axing according to Deadline has left producers of other made for HBO Max films on edge ahead of Thursday’s quarterly earnings report.