A highly anticipated new film, which was filmed entirely in Scotland, has been scrapped by Warner Bros and will now no longer be released in cinemas later this year.
Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the latest film in the DC Comics film franchise saw Glasgow transformed into the fictional, dark world of Batman’s Gotham City and was set to star 27-year-old New York actor Leslie Grace in the main role.
However, the production will now be shelved entirely, despite a reported cost of almost 70 million dollars (£57.6 million) and filming all but complete.
US publication The New York Post has also reported that Warner Bros. have also abandoned plans to place the film onto streaming service HBO Max.
The news will disappoint film fans, after some huge names were already confirmed to appear in the movie, such as Batman icon Michael Keaton, J.K. Simmons (Burn After Reading, Whiplash) and Brendan Fraser (The Mummy) in the role of villain Firefly.
The lack of release is also sure to sadden Scottish film fans, many of whom have gotten used to seeing several Scottish landmarks on the big screen, with Glasgow’s Necropolis having a starring role at the end of blockbuster ‘The Batman’, starring Robert Pattinson, most recently.
Why has Warner Bros cancelled Batgirl?
There have been several reasons given for the abnormally late abandonment of the film.
It is thought the production company’s main reason for the cancellation is a poor response to test screenings. With a release date for the film confirmed for the end of the year, test screenings were well underway, which is now par for the course with major releases in order to gauge audience reception.
As per a report by the New York Post, the initial test screenings of the film received overwhelmingly poor responses from audiences. The New York Post claimed the reaction was poor, Warner Bros. decided to cut their losses and simply cancel the movie altogether adding that the reaction to the movie could cause irreversible damage to the future of the DCEU's franchise.
A secondary rumoured reason for the cancellation is that Warners Bros had committed to large scale, theatrical films in their DC world and, in short, the release of Batgirl was too far removed from the fictional world they wanted to create.
The loss of the film is certain to be a big blow to Warner Bros financially, with several reshoots, Covid-19 delays meaning the film budget teetered on close to a $100 million budget.
It isn’t all bad news for Batgirl though, with strong reports suggesting the studio will continue to work with the film's lead star, Leslie Grace, and Batgirl's directing team on future blockbusters.