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Warner Bros. kills off 'Batgirl' movie, $90 million in

Actress Leslie Grace at the MTV Video Music Awards in Sept. 2021. Grace filmed the title role in Batgirl — which the studio has permanently shelved.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12: Leslie Grace attends the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

In a move that shocked Hollywood observers for the amount of money wasted, Warner Bros. Discovery announced Tuesday that it is shelving all plans to release the nearly finished film Batgirl, starring actress Leslie Grace.

The film had originally been planned with a $75 million budget that had rocketed up to $90 million, due to COVID-related delays. It was directed by the duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, whose credits include the 2020 Will Smith and Martin Lawrence vehicle Bad Boys for Life as well as the recent Disney+ series Ms. Marvel.

In a statement reported by multiple media sources, a Warner Bros. spokesperson wrote: "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."

Warner Bros. has not replied to requests from NPR for comment.

On Tuesday, the trade magazine Variety reported that the film had been planned under WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, and was scheduled to be initially released on the HBO Max streaming platform. Since then, David Zaslav has come in as CEO of the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery company, and has reversed their streaming-first corporate plans. The fate of Batgirl, according to Variety, seems to have been tied up in those strategy wars.

When the Batgirl news was first reported, however, it was via the New York Pos t -- and an anonymous source speaking to the newspaper placed the blame squarely on poor audience testing. "They think an unspeakable Batgirl is going to be irredeemable," the source told the Post.

At the same time that Batgirl met the ax, the studio also announced that the movie Scoob!: Holiday Haunt has also been shelved. It was a sequel to the 2020 film Scoob!, of which Variety wrote in its review: " These are trying times, and parents may be grateful to have a virtual babysitter to distract their kids for 90 minutes, in which case, Scoob! is surely more effective than sitting them in front of the fish tank."

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