Ruthless Warner Bros. binned ‘Batgirl’ for tax purposes

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

Yesterday, Warner Bros. shocked the industry with the last-minute cancellation of Batgirl.

The DCEU superhero adventure was to star Leslie Grace and Brendan Fraser, see J.K. Simmons return as Commissioner Gordon, with Michael Keaton back in the cape and cowl for the first time in 30 years as Batman. The film was deep into post-production, test screenings had taken place, and everything looked set for it to land later this year on HBO Max.

But the hammer has come down, with WB choosing to can the movie in its entirety. This is all but unprecedented behavior from a major studio, and fans are wondering… why?!

Variety may have some answers. The outlet claims that Batgirl was in an awkward spot, as it was too big to make economic sense on streaming, but too small to cut it in theaters. The report outlines that one route to release would have been to spend more on Batgirl to beef it up for a full theatrical release, but this would have doubled the budget, and the studio wanted to save money.

As such, Warner Bros. will recoup some of the $90 million budget by writing off Batgirl (and the similarly canceled Scoob! sequel) as a tax loss.

This is the absolute worst option for fans, as it would mean the studio is legally forbidden from monetizing the movie. So no quiet streaming release, no home release, no limited theatrical run – Batgirl will be simply archived off onto a Warner Bros server and won’t ever be enjoyed by fans.

It’s a dark night in Gotham City.