Blumhouse CEO offers perspective on ‘Batgirl’ cancellation decision

Leslie Grace in costume for the movie Batgirl
Photo via Warner Bros.

The fallout from the news that the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery overlords have decided to shelve the movie Batgirl despite spending $90 million on it already sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. The news brought reactions from all over the industry, and now Jason Blum is also chiming in.

Blum, the CEO of horror movie factory Blumhouse Productions, recently spoke with Variety about his thoughts on the issue, saying he understands why it happened.

“I was surprised by it but I understood why they chose to do it. You have a new management, so they want a new start and to brand DC in a certain way,” he said.

The CEO said at his company it’s common for directors to “trade big budgets for control.”

“We borrowed the French auteur system and applied it to very commercial filmmaking. We give them more control than they typically get in Hollywood, but they have to give us something as well: a commitment to make movies inexpensively.”

He said at the end of the day it all comes down to money and creative control.

The way studio filmmaking works is correlated to budget, the more expensive the movie, the more time the director is strategizing on how they are going to get their way. On a $200 million movie, the director is spending 80% of their time on politics and 20% actually making the movie. On our $4 million movie, 100% of time is spent on making a good movie.”

That specific type of focused movie making lets his studio handle risk taking, he said. For example, he said he greenlit the Ethan Hawke vehicle The Black Phone without looking at a script. Apparently Batgirl‘s biggest flaw was that it was too expensive? Interesting take.

“I thought: ‘O.K, so they talk on the phone in the basement.’ In Hollywood, everything is about ego, so most companies will say ‘no’ if they are so-so on the script. We don’t do that, because our movies are not expensive. When the budgets are so big, the people in charge need to think the script is amazing and perfect before they say ‘yes’. But I would rather trust the director than an executive over what’s amazing and perfect.”

Of course, the Batgirl cancellation news has fans worried about all the other DC projects now in development. Those include Black Canary, Hourman, Plastic Man, Zatanna and Static. Time will tell if these projects get the axe as well.