Batgirl Will 'Inevitably' Join New DCU But Standalone Film Was Simply 'Not Releasable,' Says DC Studios Boss

Though the “new” DC Universe that is forming may eventually find a place for Batgirl, the standalone movie that was originally developed for HBO Max but got cancelled deep into production simply was not worthy of release.

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Peter Safran, who along with producing partner/filmmaker James Gunn are the new heads of DC Studios (fka DC Films), weighed in on Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s decision as they revealed the first phase of their vision for the DCU, which is dubbed “Chapter 1: God and Monsters.”

“Batgirl’s a character that inevitably we will include in our story,” Safran said at the DCU presentation event, per our sister site Variety.

But as for the Leslie Grace-led movie’s unfortunate fate, Safran said, “I saw the movie, and there are a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable, and it happens sometimes.

“I actually think that Zaslav and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it,” he added, “because it would have hurt DC. It would have hurt those people involved…. It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace; it was built for the small screen. So, again, I think … they made the right decision by shelving it.”

Michael Keaton with Leslie Grace and director Adil El Arbi

Batgirl, as reported over the summer, was done filming but awaiting the addition of visual effects. Originally developed as an HBO Max exclusive, the DC film instead wound up with no showcase of any kind when Warner Bros. Discovery pivoted away from straight-to-HBO Max movie releases and locked into a theaters-only model. As such, WBD decided to “disappear” the $90 million movie and use it as a tax write-off, as the company labors to pay down billions in debt.

“We’re not going to launch your movie until it’s ready. We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quota. And we’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it,” Zaslav explained in August. “Particularly with DC, where we think we want to pivot and we want to elevate and we want to focus.”

“We have done a reset” when it comes to the release strategy behind movies of any kind, Zaslav added. As one part of that, he said — months before Gunn and Safran took over as DC Studios heads — “There will be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC,” akin to the Marvel team led by Kevin Feige at Disney.

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