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Warner Bros. Cancels 'Batgirl' Movie After Spending Nearly $90 Million

Sunk costs reportedly couldn't keep the movie afloat.

batgirl
Leslie Grace won't make her big-screen debut as Batgirl after all.
Warner Bros. via Leslie Grace on Instagram

Warner Bros. Discovery has nixed the upcoming Batgirl movie despite already spending a boatload of money on it. The film, part of the DC Extended Universe, was set to feature Leslie Grace as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman and J.K. Simmons as Gotham police commissioner James Gordon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, production costs exceeded the roughly $80 million original budget due to COVID-related measures, sending the price tag to nearly $90 million. The film, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah was expected to debut on HBO Max this year. 

Fallah and El Arbi issued a joint statement on Instagram on Wednesday expressing their disappointment with the decision. 

"We are saddened and shocked by the news. 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," they wrote, using the Arabic phrase for "God willing." 

The duo praised the cast and crew for their hard work, calling Grace's portrayal of Batgirl one with "dedication and humanity." In their statement, the pair described how it was an honor to work on a DCEU film. 

Grace took to Twitter on Wednesday to make a statement about the news, and she too acknowledged the "love, hard work and intention" of the cast and crew. The actor also noted that they filmed in Scotland for more than seven months.

"I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process!" Grace wrote. "To every Batgirl fan - THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, 'my own damn hero!'"

Batgirl has been in the works since 2017, with Grace's casting announced in 2021. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros.' decision to cancel the movie is a result of the studio wanting to invest big dollars in DC blockbusters versus streaming releases. Under David Zaslav's new leadership as CEO, the company is focused on streamlining and cutbacks across the board following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery.   

The move has some DC fans wondering about the status of another upcoming DC Extended Universe adaptation: The Flash. Ezra Miller stars as the titular character. Over the past several months, the actor has faced allegations and legal issues over his conduct. The Flash has a planned theatrical release for 2023, but it's unclear whether controversy surrounding Miller will affect a decision to move forward.

Batgirl was not the only HBO Max film on the chopping block. The studio also decided to ax Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, the sequel to Scoob! 

Though Batgirl is out of the running, DC's future film releases include Aquaman 2, Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods.