Batgirl | It was “necessary” to axe the film, says Warner Bros Discovery boss

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Warner Bros Discovery boss David Zaslav isn’t backing down over the decision to basically ‘delete’ the Batgirl film in 2022.

Uh-oh. Every time the Batgirl bonfire looks like it’s about to go out, along comes someone to pour a few more gallons of fuel onto it. In this case, once again, it’s the divisive boss of Warner Bros Discovery, David Zaslav.

The brief story so far. The movie Batgirl was coming towards the end of post-production when the decision was made to can the movie. Test screenings had been positive, but Warner Bros nonetheless took the decision to effectively delete the pretty much completed movie, and take the tax write-off money instead.

Leslie Grace was in the lead role, with Brendan Fraser, Michael Keaton and J K Simmons in supporting roles.

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were directing, from a screenplay by Christina Hodson. But nobody’s allowed to see the film, as if Warner Bros Discovery released it in whole or in part, our understanding is that it’d have to repay its tax benefits.

No matter how many times we type that sentence, it still at best feels incredibly bizarre.

David Zaslav has been in New York this week, at the DealBook Summit that’s been heavily reported not least for what Disney boss Bob Iger has been chatting about. And he’s not budging at all on the decision to scrap Batgirl (and the also-completed Scoob! Holiday Haunt).

Using language that endears him to film lovers the world over, he said “what content is going to help us win?”

Remember the golden rule, chums: never trust someone who describes a film as ‘content’. Anyway.

“The content that wasn’t” – he’s talking about two completed films here – “we made a strategic decision on. It was difficult and it was painful. But I think it was the right decision for the company and it was necessary”.


I’m glad I live outside a world where corporations believe a short term tax benefit is more “necessary” than putting out a film that it’s spent $70m on. I also, in fairness, have moments where I talk out of my arse, but then Zaslav has a bigger microphone than me.

Batgirl remains unreleased, and that’s – clearly – a decision that’s not going to be reversed.

The Verge

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