Though the Batgirl film was almost finished, it will not be seen on HBO Max or in theaters, and Warner Bros. Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav offered up a reason for that during the company’s earnings call.
“We’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it. That’s it,” said Zaslav. “The objective is to grow the DC brand, to grow the DC characters, but also our job is to protect the DC brand, and that’s what we’re going to do.” The Flash movie is still on track to be released, and Zaslav also shared that there’s a 10-year-plan for DC that would be similar to what Marvel has.
After looking over the data, according to Zaslav, “our conclusion is that with expensive direct-to-streaming movies — in terms of how people are consuming them on the platform, how often people buy a service for it, and how it gets nourished over time — there is no comparison to what happens when you launch a film in the theaters. This idea of expensive films going to streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it. And so we’re making a strategic shift.”
News that Batgirl would not be released — despite being in post-production — came on August 2. Leslie Grace, who played Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, posted a statement on Instagram following the announcement. “I am proud of the love, hard work and intention all of our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film over 7 months in Scotland,” she wrote. “I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process! 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!’”
It was during the earnings call that it was also announced that, following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, HBO Max and Discovery+ will merge into one streaming platform by 2023. This comes after HBO Max has already removed six of its original films from its library: Moonshot starring Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor, Superintelligence featuring Melissa McCarthy, 2020’s The Witches with Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer, American Pickle starring Seth Rogen, Locked Down with Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Charm City Kings. Also shelved: LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s House Party reboot as well as Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, which, like Batgirl, had also been near completion.