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Warner Bros. Scraps Completed BATGIRL Movie, Along with DC Films’ First Trans Character

Photo from Leslie Grace’s Instagram

Warner Bros. Scraps Completed BATGIRL Movie, Along with DC Films’ First Trans Character

By Movieguide® Staff

Although major motion picture cancellations are not foreign in Hollywood, Warner Bros.’s cancellation of their upcoming DC superhero blockbuster BATGIRL shocked many in the entertainment industry.

Not only did BATGIRL conclude filming, but it also boasted several respected Hollywood talents like Leslie Grace as the titular character, Micheal Keaton reprising his role as Batman, with additional roles played by J.K. Simmons and Brendan Fraser.

The movie was set to release on HBO Max due to a relatively low budget for a superhero movie at $70 million. Despite COVID-19 pushing their budget from $75 million to over $90 million, no one expected Warner Bros. to scrap the completed project after only a few early audience screenings.

“They think an unspeakable Batgirl is going to be irredeemable,” one source said, according to PinkNews.

But why?

According to Variety, the decision is partly due to the change in leadership at Warner Bros.

Variety reported:

Several sources note that “Batgirl” was made under a different regime at Warner Bros., headed by Jason Kilar and Ann Sarnoff, that was singularly focused on building its streaming service, HBO Max. That effort included Kilar’s infamous decision to release the studio’s entire 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously on the streamer, which helped build the subscriber base but also jeopardized the studio’s reputation with top-tier talent (though many agents and stars privately came to appreciate the move when the company paid generous bonuses as a make-nice).

Even before David Zaslav took the reins of the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery as CEO this spring, the exec went on a well-publicized listening tour designed to repair the company’s relationship with the creative community. As part of that effort, Zaslav has made no secret of reversing Kilar’s strategy and committing to releasing first-run feature films in theaters before putting them on HBO Max.

“Batgirl” found itself on the bad end of that decision, apparently neither big enough to feel worthy of a major theatrical release nor small enough to make economic sense in an increasingly cutthroat streaming landscape.

However, there may be a specific reason why Warner Bros. did not believe in BATGIRL’s theatrical success.

It was well known before release that BATGIRL would introduce DC Films’ first transgender character, played by transgender actor Ivory Aquino.

Whether studios want to state their motive, they know that catering to a small minority audience will not result in the most profit—as evidenced by Disney Pixar’s LIGHTYEAR.

LIGHTYEAR disappointed fans and underperformed at the box office due to its focus on sex over story.

Movieguide® previously reported:

LIGHTYEAR was yet another Disney disappointment in its opening weekend.

According to Variety, “For Pixar, ‘Lightyear’ ranks as one of the studio’s lower starts, behind 2017’s ‘Cars 3’ ($53 million) and ahead of 2015’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ ($39 million) and 2020’s ‘Onward’ ($39 million). It’s also one of the rare Pixar films to not take the top spot at the domestic box office, landing in second place.”

While critics blame the less-than-impressive box office on the struggles spin-offs often face or that the movie failed to make a connection with the original TOY STORY franchise, the truth of the matter is simple: LIGHTYEAR pushed an immoral and unbiblical agenda that went directly against the narrative the original movies so beautifully told.

Had LIGHTYEAR shied away from such a progressive agenda; it could have seen the box office success of its predecessors. Instead, Disney and Pixar chose to cater to a small but vocal minority when they could have banked on families.