DC Studios co-CEO Peter Safran has said that the shelved Batgirl movie was “not releasable”.
The film, which starred Leslie Grace, Brandon Fraser and J.K. Simmons, was axed in 2022 following reports of poor test screenings. At the time, it was reported that the project was written off for tax purposes.
Speaking at the DC presentation in Los Angeles on Tuesday (January 31), Safran clarified concerns around the film’s quality.
“I saw the movie,” he said (via IndieWire). “There were a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable. It happens sometimes. That film was not releasable.”
He added: “I actually think that [David] Zaslav [Warner Bros. Discovery CEO] and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it, because it would’ve hurt DC. It would’ve hurt those people involved. I think they really stood up to support DC, the characters, the story, the quality and all that.”
Safran added that he spoke with Batgirl co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah last week.
“We’d love to be in business with all of those folks,” Safran said. “Christina Hodson, the writer, she’s somebody we’re already back in business with. A lot of talented people involved, but the film was just not releasable.
“It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace. It was built for the small screen. I think it was not an easy decision, but they made the right decision by shelving it.”
El Arbi and Fallah previously disputed the claims that their film was not up to standard.
“The guys from Warners told us it was not a talent problem from our part or the actress, or even the quality of the movie,” El Arbi said in August 2022. “They told us it was a strategic change. There was new management, and they wanted to save some money.”
Following the news of Batgirl’s cancellation, the directors expressed their shock in a shared statement on Instagram.
“We are saddened and shocked by the news,” the post read. “We still can’t believe it. As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.
“Our amazing cast and crew did a tremendous job and worked so hard to bring Batgirl to life. We are forever grateful to have been part of that team. It was a dream to work with such fantastic actors like Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Corey Johnson, Rebecca Front and especially the great Leslie Grace, who portrayed Batgirl with so much passion, dedication and humanity.”
They added: “In any case, as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids, it was a privilege and an honour to have been a part of the DCEU, even if it was for a brief moment. Batgirl for Life.”
El Arbi and Fallah are next set to direct Bad Boys 4, with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprising their respective roles.