When Warner Bros. Discovery cancelled Batgirl, it was reported that a huge reason for this was the studio’s desire to focus solely on theatrical releases instead of straight-to-streaming-service movies.
“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” a statement released by Warner Bros. Discovery read. “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 we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”
However, despite reportedly moving away from streamer-only movies, a spokesperson for Warner Bros recently confirmed to TVLine that Black Canary was still in development for HBO Max. The DCEU movie, which acts as a spin-off from Birds of Prey, is reportedly set to forgo a theatrical release. Since the movie was announced in August 2021, not much else is known about the plot or cast, although Jurnee Smollett has confirmed that she is set to reprise her role as the anti-hero.
Misha Greene, who has previously collaborated with Smollett on other projects, is set to pen the script.
By the time Batgirl’s cancellation was announced, the thriller movie had already completed filming and was in the post-production stages. Batman actor Michael Keaton was set to reprise his role as the Caped Crusader, while musical actor Leslie Grace was set to debut as Batgirl. Brendan Fraser and J.K. Simmons were also set to play major roles in the movie as Firefly and Commissioner Gordon, respectively.
In a post-earnings call, David Zaslav, president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, responded to backlash over Batgirl’s cancellation. “Our conclusion is that with expensive direct-to-streaming movies — in terms of how people are consuming them on the platform, how often people buy a service for it, and how it gets nourished over time — there is no comparison to what happens when you launch a film in the theatres,” he explained.
“So, this idea of expensive films going to streaming… we cannot find an economic case for it. And so we’re making a strategic shift.” At the time of writing, there is no confirmed release date for Black Canary.