Warner Brothers just pulled the plug on Batgirl

Originally published at: Warner Brothers just pulled the plug on Batgirl | Boing Boing

6 Likes

jonny lee miller dammit GIF

10 Likes

they can say what they want at Warner about why they won’t release it in any form, but my guess it is that “research” has told them it wasn’t very good. not that it hasn’t kept WB from releasing several other DC “blockbusters” that turned out to be stinkers (WW 1984 anyone?). too bad. i would have watched it.

4 Likes

I’ve honestly got serious doubts the movie was that bad. I think this is a studio politics issue – probably the old “New studio head junks everything the old studio head promoted.”

9 Likes

Considering how badly they flubbed the whole DC superhero universe, I have no doubt that the movie was in fact that bad.

8 Likes

Publicity.Stunt. 100%. If it was finished, it will be released, one way or another. Some people will hate it, others will love it, and those people will spend years calling each other idiots. Fan fiction will be written, sequels will be demanded and made. Spin-offs will happen. There will probably be a TV show on the CW. Next verse, same as the first.

4 Likes

And yet, they won’t fire Ezra Miller for a Flash movie that’s not even out yet despite his off set escapades.

11 Likes

You misspelled “assholery”.

13 Likes

This seems key, as does the urge to compare the MCU and DCEU. The Blank Check podcast has pointed out that by avoiding the “Everything is Connected, Paul Fieg Rules all” style, DC has accidentally allowed a diverse and comparatively much more interesting set of movies to be released. They replace their stars, directors and styles more often and have been more adventurous.

If they would just embrace this identity and build it out as an intentional brand, they could position themselves perfectly as the scrappy underdog and start to siphon off Marvel fans as the MCU clusterfuck inevitably starts alienating people.

7 Likes

Napoleon Dynamite cost $400,000 to make, grossed $46 Million. What a bullshit line of thinking that you need to spend huge money to make a good/popular film.

DC should just give up already and be the ones to create the next ‘original’ trend. I sleep better knowing that we’re mostly past all that YA vampire/werewolf/hunger stuff… this superhero content isn’t much better. Throw all this into a Multiverse blender and you are really narrowing down your audience to those who care to keep up with the latest ret-con nonsense. The idea pool is getting shallow.

And re-casting these roles every few projects/series doesn’t help the brand either.

Snyder’s bots squeeze WB for millions upon millions for a backyard re-shoot yet WB distance themselves from “Joker”, treat it like a rogue “Never Say Never Again”. They deserve the misery they created.

1 Like

I really wish that DC would lean hard in to the Multiverse idea and declare all of their films to be “Elseworlds” stories. That way they wouldn’t be tied in to a single continuity, and films could vary in tone without detracting from some corporate model. They wouldn’t need to do crossovers, they could swap actors from production to production; if they felt a version was popular enough, they could do sequels.

6 Likes

i agree with your underlying point, but miller is “they” not “he”

5 Likes

Thing is big public companies have that whole preserving shareholder value obligation. You don’t and can’t just eat a $100m loss out of spite.

And their official line/response is odd. That it’s too big for streaming, but not big enough for theaters. So kill it?

Good or not they have to be convinced that this won’t turn a profit on release.

It’s also really hard to say DC doesn’t need some serious rejiggering. It’s a 10 year string of debacles, reviled films, and financial failures. Some of those financial failures apparently despite $800m box offices. The whole DCEU project is defined by budget over runs, late reshoots, and re-edits because they spent so much they had to release something.

I’m not about to blame “spite” for anyone trying to correct that. And shelving movies instead of dumping more and more money in is probably a pretty good step. Almost every disaster with DC included that to the tune of a few hundred million.

Most of those “escapades” lit off after they finished shooting. Flash is already in the can. So they can’t just fire Miler or recast. That means starting over.

Flash also cost more than double what Batgirl has so far. So it’s very different math. That said I would have assumed the sounds like $100m cost of Batgirl was to big too shelve. So maybe they’ll kill Flash anyway, they probably should if it’s bad.

I think the key thing is that this wasn’t deliberate. And to the extent that they did do the latter as their official direction it doesn’t appear to be working. DC ended up in that position after giant debacles, and apparently overall financial losses on an it’s all connected push. To all appearances they haven’t even abandoned that, they’re also doing other things. While barreling into an in continuity reset for a continuity that no one cares about and that doesn’t make money.

All of this seems like badly needed house cleaning that should have happened 5 years ago. I’ve been mystified to see WB/DC announcing so many projects without any sort of plan all this time.

Which is an awful lot of profit for that investment, in large part because it was so cheap. If that film had cost $60m that box office (and that’s a small ass box office) would have been a loss.

Assuming this cost $100m to get out the door (and that’s assuming a lot because it’s not done and that’s the rumored current cost). There’s probably another $100m in marketing and distribution costs to get it out to theaters. To break even on that they’ll need more than a $400m box office, owing to revenue splits with theaters and international distributors. The napkin math says 3x the final budget to make a profit.

It’s that math that’s repeatedly gotten DC in trouble. Actual budgets on the big stuff are apparently much higher than published, marketing and distro costs very high. So that films like Batman v Superman, that made $800m in ticket sales. Are rumored to have not made money. And not for “Hollywood math” reasons.

3 Likes

What gets me is that they are literally sitting on 80 years of great stories and refuse to do anything but slyly put in a background reference to the great stories told. Ok, so there are some real stinkers in there, but if you want to make a billion dollars, try doing, oh, a live action version of Return of the Dark Knight, which is taught in English Literature courses in colleges, or Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, or Year One, or the Court of Owls, or Killing Joke, or or or. . .

Instead we get pablum designed to sell toys and suck-start a half-assed and ill thought out “Universe” that has no interest to the old-school fans, has nothing new to offer casual viewers, and whose reliance on cheap, bad CGI ruins the experience for anyone who has eyes. If Batgirl is finally the straw that broke Warner’s back then good, maybe they can fix themselves and start telling good stories instead of making commercials and political screeds.

2 Likes

I’d just as soon stay away from the Frank Miller stuff especially since he’s outed himself as a full-bore fascist and his take on Batman is very much in that same vein.

11 Likes

A lot of that stuff is also bleak and mean. It’s where they drew their grim and gritty take on Batman from. Which lead to the grimmer and grittier take on everything at the start of this whole DCEU mess. Complete with rumored “no jokes” policy.

And yeah. That’s worked out real well for them lately.

There’s a hell of a lot of DC shit I’d love to see adapted. DK, Killing Joke and Year One have been hammered to death. Over and over. In every medium. For 20 years or more. I for one am sick to death of it.

It’s The Dark Knight Returns.

5 Likes

Or Thomas Wolfe’s Batman: You Can’t Go Home Again

/s

5 Likes

I prefer Sartre’s Hell is Other Batmen.

7 Likes

This kind of thing happens a lot with theatrical releases (because marketing the movie cost more than the movie, so it’s a significant further expenditure), but it didn’t initially make sense to me for a streaming film. There were reports that early test screenings went… poorly, but it turns out, from what I’ve read, that a corporate leadership change* meant that the company’s whole strategy has changed - they want giant theatrical releases, not streaming movies. The irony is that I doubt they’ll ever make a big theatrical Batgirl movie, so this got canned for nothing.

*This has to be one of the most frustrating things for tv/movie makers - you can spend years making a movie/show, have the whole thing completed, it’s good, and then it gets thrown out because one executive got replaced by another who has different ideas about how things should be run. (Or, worse, even the same ideas, but they just reject everything done under their predecessor just to put their own stamp on things.) I was reading about a whole season of a tv show being thrown out for the same reason - someone decided they weren’t interested in scripted programming anymore. Never mind that the show had been on for multiple seasons already and had an existing audience…

I wish that were true, but it often isn’t. (Tons of things get made and never see the light of day, even as pirated copies, which seems to be the only way this is getting out.) Especially if what I’m reading is true, and they’re changing strategy and have essentially given up on streaming content in favor of money-making theatrical releases. They decided this wasn’t worthy of theatrical release, so it’s not getting released at all. This implies that they want to reserve the characters for use in a big-budget movie, but that seems unlikely as well.

They already filmed the movie, though, so Ezra can’t be “fired.” They might not release it, however - it seems to have disappeared from schedules. If Ezra can’t resolve their issues and remains sufficiently toxic, it might not ever come out.

But they’re not interested in making good/popular films - they want to make blockbusters. I.e. spectacles of FX and action that cross language barriers, and where quality (which is a highly unreliable indicator of future financial success) doesn’t really come into it. That provides them with more reliable returns on investments. Apparently this movie didn’t work as a blockbuster, and for a blockbuster, they’re going to be spending many hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing anyways, so there’s no point in cheaping out on the budget of the movie itself.

That’s what they’re doing, though they’re not being explicit about saying it. Michael Keaton was playing Batman in this one, as he was, apparently, in an alt-reality in the Flash movie.

What I’m reading suggest that new leadership sees streaming as a lost cause and that new streaming content isn’t going to bring in enough subscribers to generate real revenue compared to theatrical releases, so that’s the new focus. I guess they tested this movie with an eye to it being a potential theatrical release, and they decided it wouldn’t work as such. But it seems incredibly unlikely they’ll ever spend the big bucks doing a Batgirl movie, so yeah, this is just a loss. (I suppose the possibility is still there for them, and that’s what matters.) Apparently a finished Scooby-Doo streaming movie got the axe for the same reason. Other streaming movies/tv shows - e.g. Blue Beetle - seem to be threatened by this change in strategy as well.

Ha ha, no. If anything, this suggests a move in the opposite direction.

6 Likes

2 Likes