The movie industry was in shock last week when news broke that Warner Bros was reportedly set to shelve its straight-to-streaming-service movie Batgirl. As pointed out by Variety, the move, which comes after Warner Bros. welcomed new management, was unprecedented because “studios almost never shelve productions outright.”
Yet, despite having a $90 million budget and filming on the DC movie having already wrapped, it looks like Batgirl will not be seeing a release either in theatres or on HBO Max. Variety reported that the reason for this change of heart was because Warner wanted to focus more on theatrical releases. However, the Hollywood Reporter claims that the movie was axed after an unfinished version of the film got a lacklustre audience reception at test screenings.
The movie reportedly got a score in the low 60s, and on his podcast The Town, Hollywood insider Matthew Belloni claims he spoke to a person who attended the test screening for Batgirl. “He said it played like a TV pilot, the stakes were very small,” Belloni recalled. “He said it felt a little like Dark Phoenix.”
Dark Phoenix, the 2019 X-Men movie, is renowned for being a box office bomb, so that may well explain why Warner execs were reluctant to move forward with Batgirl. But a recent Twitter Spaces involving Rotten Tomatoes’ Erik Davis and The Wrap reporter Umberto Gonzalez shed new light on the situation.
“The director’s cut of Black Adam tested the same as Batgirl, however Jaume had the time to do reshoots, make adjustments and work on the movie as is the process, and now they’re sitting on a pretty great movie,” Gonzales noted.
“[Batgirl] also tested the same as the first test screening of It: Chapter One, It tested the same, they went back, worked on the movie, and the movie made 701 million dollars.”
Black Adam will be released in theatres on October 21, 2022. Meanwhile, if the news of Batgirl has made you nostalgic for the Caped Crusader, why not watch all the Batman movies in order or check out our ranking of the best Batman actors?