The DC Comics movie ‘Batgirl’ has been shelved by Warner Bros after receiving poor reviews in test screenings, according to US media.
The film, which reportedly cost up to $100m (£82m) to make, ranks among the most expensive films to have been shot in post-production.
This was due to star Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon, or Batgirl, and JK Simmons as her father, Commissioner Jim Gordon.
Michael Keaton was set to reprise his role as Batman, and Brendan Fraser would appear as the villainous Firefly.
The film was due to appear on the HBO Max streaming service, with reports suggesting in April that Warner Bros was also considering releasing the film in theaters.
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However, it was shelved entirely following negative feedback at a test screening that took place in anticipation of a late 2022 debut, according to the New York Post.
“They think an indescribable ‘Batgirl’ will be irretrievable,” a source told the newspaper.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. insiders insist the decision to scrap the film was driven not by quality, but by a desire for the studio’s DC movie slate to be on a blockbuster scale, according to the American entertainment news website Variety.
The studio has made a business decision to refocus its priorities on feature-length theatrical films, Variety adds.
It comes after the film, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, failed to receive a mention at DC’s Comic-Con panel in San Diego, Calif., in July.
The highly publicized event is designed to increase the visibility of these productions.
Five Movies So Bad They Never Came Out
Batgirl has joined an exclusive club of movies so bad they never saw the light of day. Here, we take a look at these films and the Hollywood stars who appeared in them.
BIG BUG MAN: This animated TV movie would have starred Hollywood great Marlon Brando alongside Brendan Fraser – who, coincidentally, would have appeared as the villain of Batgirl. The film was about a man named Howard Kind (Fraser) who gained special abilities after being bitten by insects. It was to be released between 2006 and 2008.
GODS MISBEHIND: This 2013 film starred Hollywood stars Christopher Walken and John Turturro as the Greek gods Zeus and Hades respectively. The film was shown at a film festival in Italy but never released. The Hollywood Reporter compared it to a bad Saturday Night Live skit.
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER: This 1984 sci-fi comedy starred Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. It was shelved by MGM shortly before its release date after poor reviews at press screenings.
FANTASTIC FOUR: This unreleased 1994 superhero film was based on the Marvel Comics superheroes of the same name. However, the film was never released – with many believing that Marvel executive Avi Arad paid producers millions of dollars not to release the film so it wouldn’t tarnish the brand.
DON’S PLUM: This 2001 black-and-white film would have starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. It was reportedly so serious that DiCaprio and Maguire refused to allow it to be released.
Grace told Variety in April that she had preliminary discussions with El Arbi and Fallah about a potential sequel for Batgirl.
“There are crazy stunts, crazy drops,” Grace said of the film. “She’s a biker, so you’re going to see her doing a lot of badassery… It was a lot of long days, but it was totally worth it.”
The decision to suspend Batgirl comes as Warner Bros. decides what to do with DC’s adaptation of The Flash, which was set to hit theaters in 2023.
The film’s star Ezra Miller has faced repeated allegations of abuse and misconduct.