Warner Bros. Is Holding Secret 'Batgirl' Screenings In Wake Of Controversial Shelving: Report

Industry insiders have been attending hushed "funeral screenings" of the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hollywood insiders are getting one last look at “Batgirl” this week in what one source described to The Hollywood Reporter as “funeral screenings,” following Warner Bros.’ controversial decision to shelve the superhero movie for good.

That same source told The Hollywood Reporter the film will be laid to rest in either digital or physical form in a vault, presumably at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California. Initially set for an HBO Max-only release, the $90 million movie was scrapped while in postproduction.

A representative for WarnerMedia did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on the reported screenings.

DC Films fans erupted when David Zaslav, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, decided to ax the film for a tax write-down. Shepherding a merger between Discovery and HBO parent company WarnerMedia, Zaslav pushed to reduce original content for the HBO Max streaming service.

"Batgirl" screenings are being held at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Batgirl" screenings are being held at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
AaronP/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

“Batgirl” wasn’t the only film scrapped in the process, as other projects including “Scoob! Holiday Haunt” and “Little Ellen” were snuffed out, as well.

While a score and visual effects had yet to be completed, “Batgirl,” starring Leslie Grace as Batman’s titular counterpart, had already received a public test screening when it was shelved. The film’s directors, Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi, said they tried to preserve a copy of the film but were unsuccessful.

Fallah and El Arbi told SKRIPT this week they tried to log on to the studio’s server to rescue the footage — only to discover their access was blocked.

While this week’s “funeral screenings” could be mistaken for part of an eventual surprise rollout and reverse-shelving, that appears to be wishful thinking, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sources told the outlet that Warner Bros. could potentially physically destroy all “Batgirl” footage in order to prove to the IRS that not a cent of revenue will ever result from the project, so that the company can receive the full tax write-down.

Ultimately, Zaslav is aiming to save $3 billion in costs at the newly merged company. While former CEO Jason Kilar worked to flood HBO Max with high-budget fare, Zaslav is trying to reduce expenditures and prioritize theatrical releases.

On the other hand, some sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the tides might eventually turn. “Batgirl” could theoretically be released at a later date — but only if Warner Bros. decides it’s worth paying back the film’s tax liability.

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