On Tuesday (August 2), the studio abruptly axed the film and announced it would no longer be released on streaming service HBO Max as originally intended.
The project, which was in post-production after filming concluded in March this year, is reported to have been cancelled due to new management at Warner Bros. Discovery who pivoted back to making DC films at a blockbuster scale. Batgirl, with a modest budget of $90million, was pitched to be screened exclusively in homes on HBO Max.
In a joint statement on Instagram released on Wednesday (August 3), El Arbi and Fallah said they were “shocked” by the cancellation.
“We are saddened and shocked by the news,” the post reads. “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.
“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.”
They added: “In any case, as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids, it was a privilege and an honour to have been a part of the DCEU, even if it was for a brief moment. Batgirl for Life.”
The directing duo previously helmed 2020 film Bad Boys For Life and episodes of Disney+ series Ms. Marvel.
Along with Batgirl, Warner Bros. also shelved animated film Scoob! Holiday Haunt, a follow-up to the 2020 film Scoob! which had been shown in a HBO Max sizzle reel last year.
In a statement released to The Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. said: “The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. 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.”
Michael Keaton is set to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne in DC’s The Flash, a film marred in controversy due to a string of arrests against lead actor Ezra Miller. The film is scheduled to be released on June 23, 2023.