This week, Hollywood insiders will take one last look at Batgirl in what one source called The Hollywood Reporter “a funeral screening” after Warner Bros. the controversial decision to permanently shelve a superhero movie.
The same source told The Hollywood Reporter that the film will be buried either digitally or physically in a vault, presumably at the Warner Bros. lot. in Burbank, California. Originally intended for release only on HBO Max, the $90 million film was canceled during post-production.
A WarnerMedia spokesperson did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on viewing reports.
Fans of DC Films exploded when David Zaslav, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, decided to make the film tax-deductible. While overseeing the merger between Discovery and HBO parent company WarnerMedia, Zaslav pushed for cuts in original content for HBO Max’s streaming service.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Batgirl screenings are taking place at the Warner Bros. in Burbank, California. (Photo: Aaron P/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images)
Batgirl wasn’t the only film to be canceled in the process, as were other projects including Scooby! Holiday Haunt” and “Little Ellen” were also muted.
While the music and visuals were yet to be finalized, Batgirl, starring Lesley Grace as Batman’s titular counterpart, had already passed a public test screening when it was delayed. The film’s directors Bilal Fallah and Adil El Arbi stated that they tried to keep a copy of the film, but were unsuccessful.
Fallah and El Arbi told SKRIPT this week that they tried to log into the studio’s server to rescue footage, only to find their access blocked.
While this week’s “funeral screenings” could be mistaken for part of a possible surprise rollout and backsliding, it seems like wishful thinking, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Sources told the publication that Warner Bros. could potentially physically destroy all of Batgirl’s footage in order to prove to the IRS that the project will never generate a dime of revenue so that the company can receive a full tax write-off.
Ultimately, Zaslav aims to save $3 billion in costs for the newly merged company. While former CEO Jason Kilar has been working to flood HBO Max with big-budget fares, Zaslav is trying to cut costs and prioritize theatrical releases.
On the other hand, some sources have told The Hollywood Reporter that things may eventually change. Theoretically, Batgirl could be released later, but only if Warner Bros. decides it’s worth paying off the film’s tax liability.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.