Last week, it was reported that Warner Bros. planned to host a number of "funeral screenings" of the studio's axed Batgirl movie, which — until recently — was nearly finished and scheduled for an exclusive streaming debut on HBO Max in late 2022. These unorthodox showings on the WB lot in Burbank were reportedly for the cast, crew, and executives directly involved with the $90 million production, which will most likely never see the light of day, as the newly-minted Warner Bros. Discovery plans to leverage its cancellation into a generous tax write-off (CEO David Zaslav publicly vowed to slash billions in corporate spending).
Despite this plan to lock Batgirl up and throw away the key, there has been an alleged leak of intel from one of the aforementioned funeral screenings. Catching up with Fandango's Erik Davis for a conversation on Twitter Spaces last week, Umberto Gonzales (a film reporter for The Wrap known for netting juicy scoops) claimed to have spoken with an anonymous attendee from one of these events, who described the movie as "a very expensive CW pilot." And while "it was certainly not the worst superhero movie" this individual had ever seen, they still understood why WB Discovery opted for "the write-down" instead
"It’s not really a strong film, the tone is just very CW, lacking in depth, lighter and more comic book-like ... It’s basically an hour and forty minute CW pilot with a pretty good action set piece at the end from what I’m told," Gonzales continued, relaying what he purportedly heard from this source. "It’s obviously shot for television … so everything is in the center of the screen and I’m being told it just doesn’t feel cinematic, which is something they probably could have corrected if they did some additional photography. But ultimately, the powers that be decided it wasn’t worth the tens of millions it would have cost to do that."
Written by Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey) and directed by the duo of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life, Ms. Marvel), Batgirl would have featured the talents of Leslie Grace (Barbara Gordon/Batgirl), Brendan Fraser (Garfield Lynns/Firefly), Ivory Aquino (Barbara's best friend, Alysia Yeoh), J.K. Simmons (Barbara's father, Commissioner Jim Gordon), and even Michael Keaton (back in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman for the first time in over three decades).
"I asked how Keaton is in it at least and I was told, ‘He was good,'" said Gonzales. "He’s playing Bruce Wayne/Batman, age appropriate. He’s got white hair when he’s Bruce Wayne and the kicker is that his Batman is ‘retired,’ so he obviously pops into help and advise Barbara Gordon. He’s not really that much in it, but he has a presence when he’s in it and it’s sort of a pivotal cameo when he pops in and out."
Keaton will still get to don the cape and cowl in next summer's The Flash, which has experienced its own set of PR nightmares in recent months following several high-profile scandals involving Ezra Miller, who currently plays the role of Barry Allen in the DC Extended Universe. With the Scarlet Speedster's standalone adventure costing the studio upwards of $100 million and supposedly leading to a host of future projects (Barry is reportedly the key to introducing the multiverse, after all), WB refuses to put the movie on ice. Miller recently put out a statement, apologizing for their erratic behavior and vowing to seek mental health treatment.
Looking for some sci-fi TV? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock.