Batgirl Slammed as 'Not Releasable' by New DC Boss After Cancellation: 'Made the Right Decision'
Warner Bros. Pictures
DC Comics is standing its decision to have scrapped the Batgirl film.
Leslie Grace was to play the film's heroine for the HBO Max film, but fans were left shocked when it was confirmed that Warner Bros. pulled the project, despite the fact that most of the production had been completed.
Speaking with Variety at a Jan. 30 press event on the film's cancellation, DC Studios' new co-chair Peter Safran said he was on board with the film's termination.
"Batgirl's a character that inevitably we will include in our story," Safran said. "On the Batgirl front... I saw the movie, and there are a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable, and it happens sometimes."
Though the news was met with backlash by many fans, Safran commended the bravery of Warner Bros.' decision.
"That film was not releasable," the studio head repeated. "I actually think that [president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David] Zaslav and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC. It would have hurt those people involved."
"It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace; it was built for the small screen," Safran expanded, saying that he holds no ill will against directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, and "would love" to work with both of them in the future.
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"So, again, I think it was not an easy decision, but they made the right decision by shelving it," he added.
Dave J Hogan/Getty
Last August, news broke that Warner Bros. Discovery canceled plans to release two movies that were deep into production: animated sequel Scoob! Holiday Haunt and live-action DC Comics movie Batgirl. The superhero movie reportedly already cost $90 million, but the studio no longer wanted to release the film on streaming or in theaters.
The film initially received a $75 million production budget, but then ventured into $90 million territory, partially due to COVID-related delays, per Variety. According to the outlet, the film had finished principal photography earlier last year and was already in post-production.
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Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who also directed 2020's Bad Boys for Life, spoke out in a statement shared on Instagram Aug. 3.
"We are saddened and shocked by the news," they said. "We still can't believe it. 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."
Alexander Tamargo/Getty Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
"Our amazing cast and crew did a tremendous job and worked so hard to bring Batgirl to life," the directors added. "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 a statement to The Wrap, a Warner Bros. Pictures spokesperson said, "The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership's strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance."
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Discovery did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.