There were stunned reactions yesterday when Warner Bros. confirmed reports that it was scrapping the planned HBO Max release of DC movie Batgirl, which Bad Boys For Life and Ms. Marvel directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were working on. The pair has now reacted to the news.
The directorial duo – who had taken a brief break from post-production on the movie to celebrate El Arbi's wedding – were as surprised as everyone else that their movie won't be seen by viewers.
"We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it,” the directors wrote in an Instagram statement. "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 continue, "Our amazing cast and crew did a tremendous job and worked so hard to bring Batgirl to life. We are forever grateful to have been part of that team. It was a dream to work with such fantastic actors like Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Corey Johnson, Rebecca Front and especially the great Leslie Grace, who portrayed Batgirl with so much passion, dedication and humanity." You can find the full statement at the bottom of the page.
Warners, meanwhile, put out its own official statement as to why it has decided to scrap both Batgirl and Scoob! sequel Scoob! Holiday Haunt. "The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max," said a Warner Bros. spokesperson in a statement. "Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future."
Though there had been reports of bad test screenings or executive concerns about the quality of the film, it now appears to be more the confluence of regime change at Warners in the wake of its merger with Discovery and cost-cutting – Batgirl will now likely be written off as a tax issue, which means it can't be sold off to other streamers. It's a shame to think about so much hard work being effectively thrown out to keep shareholders happy.