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Releasing Batgirl would have hurt DC universe, says new DC Studios head

The movie was built for the small screen and couldn’t compete in theaters, according to Peter Safran

Batgirl movie concept art. She is on a ledge, overlooking high rises. Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

DC has announced its latest slate of movies and shows, but there are still plenty of questions swirling around Warner Bros.’ recent cancelation of Batgirl, a movie that was apparently mostly finished. During DC’s announcement event on Monday, co-chairperson of DC Studios Peter Safran took some time to address these questions and shed a little more light on what went into shelving Batgirl and why he thought it was the right move.

According to Safran, despite its late-stage cancelation, releasing Batgirl would have done nothing but harm to the larger DCU.

“On the Batgirl front, it’s not about late in the process of the film getting canceled,” Safran explained during the event, as reported by Variety. “I saw the movie, and there are a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable, and it happens sometimes. That film was not releasable. I actually think that [president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David] Zaslav and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC. It would have hurt those people involved.”

Part of the issue with the movie, as Safran explained, was that it was originally conceived as a direct-to-HBO-Max movie, which left it feeling a little too small for the shifting theatrically focused release plans that Warner Bros. Discovery had for its slate of superhero films.

“It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace,” Safran said. “It was built for the small screen. So, again, I think it was not an easy decision, but they made the right decision by shelving it.”

Safran noted that part of the reason it would hurt the larger project is that Batgirl is sure to feature into the plans that he and co-chair James Gunn have for the larger Batman franchise, particularly with DC’s upcoming The Brave and the Bold movie, which will introduce the Batfamily to the new DCU.

Safran and Gunn’s new DCU will kick off with a lineup of 10 interconnected projects that will make up the first chapter of the new universe. The first of the films on the way as part of the new DCU will be Superman: Legacy, written by Gunn, which will recast the Krytoponian hero and introduce the new DC world to viewers.

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