One of DC Studios’ new CEOs is defending the high-profile cancellation of 2022’s “Batgirl,” calling it a “bold and courageous decision.”
During a press event Monday in Burbank, California, Peter Safran spoke about the controversial choice to ditch the $90 million project, which had been on the cusp of completion.
“That film was not releasable, and it happens sometimes,” Safran said, reassuring fans that “Batgirl’s a character that inevitably we will include in our story.”
He added that David Zaslav — the president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns DC Studios — “made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC. It would have hurt those people involved.”
The highly anticipated flick had reportedly wrapped up shooting and was in postproduction when it was shockingly scrapped in August, as a merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia led to cost-cutting and new plans for the studio’s future.
Directed by “Bad Boys for Life” filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the movie was originally intended for release as an HBO Max exclusive in December, with Leslie Grace starring as Batgirl.
Michael Keaton was also set to appear in the film as Bruce Wayne (aka Batman), reprising the role he played in 1989’s “Batman” and 1992’s “Batman Returns.”
WB Discovery’s decision was met with uproar on social media, though Chief Financial Officer Gunnar Wiedenfels countered at the time that the public’s reaction was “blown out of proportion.”
In December, the film’s directors spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the axed movie and some of their future plans. When asked if they would work with WB Discovery again on a project, Fallah said they would — as long as it sees release.
“If Warner says, ‘Do you want to do the next Batman or Superman?,’ of course we’ll say yes. Just so long as the movie comes out!” he said.
Safran said that he would also be open to working with the writers and directors of “Batgirl” on future projects, noting at this week’s press event that “some people are already back in business with us.”
On Tuesday, DC Studios revealed a full slate of big-budget movie releases and TV projects coming soon under Safran and James Gunn, who assumed joint leadership of the studio last year.
In what’s being called the “Chapter 1” lineup, fans can expect five feature films and five television series for HBO Max, headlined by two Batman movies and a Man of Steel reboot, “Superman: Legacy,” in 2025.
“Chapter 1 tells cohesive stories that highlight love, compassion, and the innate goodness of the human spirit, all designed to minimize audience confusion and maximize audience engagement across platforms,” Safran said in a press release.
In the meantime, several potential blockbusters from the studio are already scheduled for release this year, including “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash,” “Blue Beetle” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.”