“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!’ Batgirl for life!”
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Warner’s decision continues to roil the entertainment world. Even in Hollywood there are few stories that put this fine a point on just how craven film execs really can be. New CEO David Zaslav, boss of the Warner Bros. Discovery conglomeration, figured there was more money to be recouped in a “tax treatment by writing off the losses of both Batgirl and another movie originally planned for HBO Max, Scoob! Holiday Haunt” rather than in releasing some content he wasn’t excited about, according to Yahoo! Entertainment.
The Batgirl cancellation is happening despite Grace (In the Heights) being the first Afro-Latina actress to play Barbara Gordon/Batgirl on the big screen (Gina Rodriguez played her earlier this summer in the enjoyably noir podcast Batman Unburied); Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman(!); and the much-touted return to the big screen of Brendan Fraser, who was set to play the film’s villain, Firefly. No Brenassaince for us.
According to the studio, they’re just not interested in movies that go direct to streaming anymore—despite the immense popularity of streaming movies during the pandemic, and the looming threat of a Covidy fall and winter that may well have potential viewers opting to stay home. Again.
Was Batgirl, in fact, bad? Maybe! But Zaslav’s decision to completely discount the work of hundreds—right up to not telling the directors, cast, and crew about the cancellation before the story broke—speaks volumes about how the industry views its workers and its films—ahem, product.
Axing Batgirl may yet prove to be a bad call for the studio’s reputation, as a torrent of backlash suggests.
Curiously, Warner Bros. chose Thursday to have Lady Gaga announce she’ll be co-starring in the Joker sequel—Joker: Folie à Deux—alongside Joaquin Phoenix. While this is truly inspired casting that’s been buzzed about for a while, some might say it’s also a laughably transparent attempt to get the moviegoing world (and especially D.C. fans) to look away from the roast currently blazing away on social media:
Leaked footage of WB executives discussing what to do about Batgirl pic.twitter.com/DZMTLkpmlk
— Max (@EPM106) August 3, 2022
The Batgirl cancellation:
– Adil & Bilall directed the best episodes of the excellent Ms Marvel
– Michael Keaton reprising his Batman
– JK Simmons reprising his Jim Gordon
– Brendan Fraser (!) as a pyromaniac villain
– Leslie Grace, a Dominican performer, as Batgirl
— Tauriq Moosa (@tauriqmoosa) August 3, 2022
“But just think of how much we could make by *not* releasing BATGIRL” pic.twitter.com/L26828LO6w
— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) August 3, 2022
This is appalling, and it's what happens when the people who run a media company crawl so far up their own hindquarters about "strategy" that they forget that actual humans put time and effort into making a movie. https://t.co/NJw09XbQ3N
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) August 2, 2022
Marvel Studios: Buckle up because we’re releasing SEVENTY-THREE MOVIES next year!
Sony: Go see Morbius. Go see Morbius again.
WB: Batgirl’s cancelled btw.
— Kasey (@RawbertBeef) August 3, 2022
A rival studio exec on ‘BATGIRL’ being cancelled:
“Worked in this town for three decades and this is some unprecedented shit right here.”
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) August 2, 2022
WB not cancelling The Flash after all the Ezra Miller bullshit but they cancel Batgirl????? HUH?????
— yehu (@comicyehu) August 2, 2022
If it wasn't cancelled, Batgirl would have been:
-One of the first, if not the first, superhero movies with a latina actress as the lead
-One of the first superhero movies with a trans person playing a trans person
-BRENDAN FRASER'S RETURN TO THE BIG SCREEN!
— Toganium (@toganium) August 3, 2022
We live in a world where Morbius released TWICE, Zack Snyder can use bots to help get a movie remade on the back of some toxic fanbases, but Batgirl may never see the light of day.
— Jessie Earl (@jessiegender) August 4, 2022
To anyone saying in regards to Batgirl’s cancellation “oh well they got paid and that’s what matters!” pic.twitter.com/MEkLYcoxCS
— Alberto Herrera #NewDeal4Animation (@Alberto9Herrera) August 3, 2022
Nobody deserves this-nobody!
I personally have no part of this production but I know everyone works their ass off to make these productions the best they can possibly achieve.
These directors and creatives deserve much more.
— Clay Staub (@Clay_Staub) August 4, 2022
If you needed a perfect illustration of how studios see their superhero films as product rather than cinema — you know, like Scorsese said, to the misplaced consternation of millions of fans — this BATGIRL story is it.
— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) August 3, 2022
Now I’m glad I turned down the role of Batgirl.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) August 3, 2022
Will never forgive @wbpictures for making this woman endure months of racism just to never let her prove herself as #batgirl I don’t care how “smart” a business decision it was. Enjoy the PR nightmare. pic.twitter.com/3knsZsibPZ
— watchwithneebz (@watchwithneebz) August 3, 2022
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