Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav explained his decision to shelve the “Batgirl” movie and two other releases, prioritizing quality over quantity and pivoting away from movies made exclusively for its HBO Max streaming service.
On a Warner Bros. Discovery quarterly earnings call Thursday, Zaslav confirmed “Batgirl,” which was mostly completed and scheduled for release on HBO Max, along with two other films, DC’s “Wonder Twins,” starring KJ Apa (“Riverdale”) and “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt.”
“We’re not going to release a movie unless we believe in it. And that’s it,” Zaslav said. “Particularly with DC, we think we want to pivot and elevate and focus … our job is to protect the DC brand.”
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But the decision also reflects a “course correction” from the Warner Bros. strategy under previous ownership, that promised a slate of movies to be released exclusively on HBO Max.
Zaslav said the economic model for streaming movies is no match for exclusive theatrical releases, . although Warner Bros. released several films on both platforms simultaneously during the pandemic.
“This idea of expensive films going direct to streaming, we cannot find an economic reason for it,” Zaslav said. “That’s why most people moved to Hollywood; that’s why most people entered this business, to be on the big screen.” (“Batgirl” reportedly cost $90 million, less than a typical superhero film.)
He added Warner Bros. will adapt plans for future DC films, attempting to mimic Disney’s success with Marvel Entertainment. Warner Bros. has created a team and a a 10-year plan for DC projects, prioritizing big films..
“Batgirl” star Leslie Grace thanked her cast and crew for the work put into the over seven months of filming in Scotland, in a statement released Wednesday about her film no longer moving forward.
“I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process,” Grace said. “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 for life!”
“Batgirl” directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah said they were “saddened and shocked by the news.”
“We still can’t believe it,” they said. “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.”
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