The cancellation of Batgirl has left many scratching their head at the move by Warner Bros. Discovery, wondering why they would cancel what seemed to be a nearly finished movie. New information from The Hollywood Reporter sheds light on some early testing for two DC films and what it might have meant for Batgirl.
It’s mentioned that despite the general interest in Batgirl (which was set to feature the first Latina to star in a DC Extended Universe film), the actual film itself was not being received well in tests. An early version of Batgirl was test screened with temporary VFX and score and received a score in the low 60s in its one and only test.
Even though the film received modest scores, low test scores are not always indicative that a film will be a total failure, as plenty have gone on to score big at the box office despite them. The report also mentions that the upcoming sequel to Shazam!, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, also tested in the 60s during its early test screening. However, due to the more “modest” budget of Batgirl and the fact that it did not feel as theatrical as a bigger DC film like The Batman or Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the decision was made to cancel the film instead of putting more money into it.
The report goes on to mention that the overarching thought at Warner Bros. Discovery, led by CEO David Zaslav, is to make its comic book films “feel theatrical,” and release them in theaters versus creating smaller films that will release on the streaming services. This is due, in part, to the monetary side of things, as The Hollywood Reporter notes that a source said that it didn’t make sense for the studio to spend upwards of $90 million on a streaming film that likely won’t bring in more subscribers when they can spend less on the product.