It sent shockwaves through Hollywood that Warner boss David Zaslav decided not to release the DC film Batgirl even though the project, which is believed to have cost around $ 90 million, has already been wrapped. “Tax tricks” are probably an important reason, as we have already explained to you in a detailed article. Because although the bulk of the money has been spent, it can be written off and, above all, it will probably appear in the books of Warner, which was recently founded after a merger of Warner Media and Discovery Bros. Discovery no longer incurred losses with the film.
It’s already the second DC project that Zaslav kills. He previously canceled “Wonder Twins,” starring “Riverdale” star KJ Apa and Isabel May (“1883”), just before filming began. As part of a large presentation to investors, Zaslav now also addressed the end of the two DC films.
In the call, the recordings of which we were able to hear, he spoke at length about how important the DC brand is to him. That’s why a new 10-year plan is being developed with a separate team based on the Marvel model. And that’s why you just can’t release some films:
“Our goal is to bring the ‘DC‘ and their characters to grow, but just as important is to keep the ‘DC‘ to protect”, according to Zaslav. “So we’re not going to release a movie unless we believe in it, especially at DC.”
But what does that mean in concrete terms? As also explained in our in-depth article on the end of Batgirl and on a previous occasion, For Zaslav, DC movies are synonymous with big blockbuster cinema events. The previous Warner leadership saw things differently. She wanted to promote two types of films: Blockbuster events in cinemas like “Black Adam”and “The Batman’, cheaper streaming experiments like ‘Batgirl’ and ‘Wonder Twins’. It is precisely in these experiments that Zaslav does not believe.
It’s not about whether such a film is bad or good. In general, he thinks streaming movies worth more than $70 million don’t make sense. He is said to have even set the internal guideline that pure home cinema productions may cost a maximum of 35 million dollars. Wonder Twins was budgeted at $75 million, so it fell victim to that policy.
The already wacky da “Batgirl” can no longer be inflated into a cinema event. The film isn’t exactly that, because you didn’t have the necessary 200 million dollars available for it and you deliberately made a “smaller” film right from the start.
With a Batgirl release, Zaslav now sees a danger that someone seeing the title might think all DC movies are like this (read: smaller). – and say to the next big movie: “I’d rather wait for the streaming release, because I don’t have to see it in the cinema.” That would be the “DC” brand, which is so important to him that he always uses it in the presentation called again and showed on slides “damaged”.
The fact that the main reasons are the tax model and this type of brand protection is also confirmed by the numerous insider articles in industry magazines. The occur especially that of the New York Post originally reported, some of which are still spun, that “Batgirl” performed disastrously poorly at test screenings and Warner pulled the plug as a result.
Of the Hollywood reporters reports like this that “Batgirl” should have landed somewhere in the 60 point range in a test screening (up to 100 points are theoretically possible, but are never achieved). That’s a decent figure, especially given the fact that the show didn’t have any ready-made special effects, and it’s in line with the numbers that have been circulating for weeks and that we’ve also come across.
The fact that a 60 value in a test presentation cannot be the reason is also shown by the fact that that according to the Hollywood reporters the upcoming DC film adaptation “Shazam! 2” got the same value in a test screening. “Shazam! 2” was hailed as “great” by Zaslav in its current form, although he did point out that the film could be made even better – certainly a nod to changes and adjustments that are quite common after such test screenings (and actually in the current phase of post-production, especially with “Batgirl”).
Another comparison, made by the Hollywood reporters draws: “ES” also “only” reached such a value. With grossing over $700 million, IT is the highest-grossing horror film in history.
“Batgirl” would of course never have achieved such income, nor could it have achieved it at all. As a streaming-exclusive release, the film would not have generated any direct revenue at all. How many people sign up or renew a subscription because of a specific film can never be reliably said. For Zaslav, however, it didn’t matter whether “Batgirl” got subscriptions. The only important thing is that DC films will always be associated with big cinema events in people’s minds in the future.