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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Christi Carras

RIP 'Batgirl': Warner Bros. reportedly holding 'funeral screenings' for DC film

LOS ANGELES — Apparently some people are getting the chance to see "Batgirl" after all.

Actors, crew members and executives who worked on "Batgirl" have been invited to private screenings of the shelved superhero film, according to a report published Wednesday by the Hollywood Reporter.

The "funeral screenings" (as one insider called them, per THR) are taking place this week on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank — not long after the studio giant abandoned plans to release the DC title on HBO Max. Following the secret showings, all "Batgirl" footage will be secured in a physical or digital vault, according to THR.

Warner Bros. did not immediately respond Thursday to the L.A. Times' request for comment.

Earlier this month, merging entertainment company Warner Bros. Discovery made the controversial decision to scrap "Batgirl," which cost $90 million to make and was set to debut exclusively on HBO Max. The new head of the media conglomerate, David Zaslav, has been open about his lack of faith in a streaming-first release strategy, and canceling the movie will likely enable the corporation to take a tax write-off, people familiar with the matter have said.

In recent weeks, Batgirl herself, Leslie Grace, has spoken out about the situation — as have "Batgirl" directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who previously worked on the acclaimed superhero series "Ms. Marvel" for Disney+.

"I am proud of the love, hard work and intention all of our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film," Grace said in a statement. "To every Batgirl fan — thank you for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, 'my own damn hero!'"

"We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can't believe it," the filmmakers said in early August. "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."

In a video interview with French film website Skript, El Arbi and Fallah revealed this week that they have been unable to access any completed "Batgirl" footage since the project was terminated, confirming that Warner Bros. Discovery "took everything."

"Adil called me: 'Film everything on your phone,'" Fallah recalled. "I went on the server and everything was gone."

"We were like, 'f— s—, all the scenes with Batman that we filmed were in it,'" El Arbi added, referring to sequences featuring Michael Keaton, who reprised his role as the Caped Crusader for "Batgirl."

According to El Arbi, the studio didn't have a problem with "the actress or the quality of the film," but instead described the widely criticized move as "a strategic change" caused by a "shifting in the management."

"Batgirl" is among the most high-profile casualties of the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, which has resulted in mass layoffs at HBO, HBO Max, CNN and beyond. A number of live-action HBO Max originals, as well as animated series, have also disappeared from the streaming platform in the purge.


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