Warner Bros. Discovery canceled Batgirl despite the fact that the film was only a few touches short of a finished product. This perplexing decision is still baffling audiences around the world.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Batgirl received the same test screening score as two upcoming DCEU films, Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which all received scores in the low 60s.
So, it feels awfully unfair to blame the cancelation on the low scores. After all, Batgirl's test score is similar to 2017's It, which made $700.3 million at the global box office. Not to mention, the early scores for Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Black Adam are also in the 60s. So, what gives?
If we go by the same report, Warner Bros. Discovery's new leadership wanted audiences to enjoy films with more spectacle and the smaller feel of Batgirl just wasn't cutting it. In line with this, Warner Bros. also canceled an upcoming HBO Max movie, Wonder Twins.
In addition, another source notes that the company no longer believes in spending upwards of $80 million on a streaming movie if it doesn't attract more subscribers than a movie with half the budget or even less. This suggests that Warner Bros might still release DCEU films on HBO Max but it will give them a more reasonable budget. More importantly, the studio also wants theater releases to "feel theatrical."
All of this comes during a point of uncertainty for the DCEU. If Batgirl was supposed to re-introduce Michael Keaton's Batman to audiences, how are viewers going to react to seeing him now that he won't reappear until next year's very controversial, The Flash? Does this mean that Warner Bros. is diminishing Keaton's role in the DCEU? Maybe this is related to Ben Affleck coming back as Bruce Wayne for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom?
Warner Bros. Discovery has a lot of explaining to do and we're hoping that we'll get fewer axing news and more reassurance going forward. The 10-year plan is a good start, but we're looking for more.