DC Co-Chief Peter Safran weighs in on Batgirl cancellation


On Monday, during a meeting with the press on the Warner Bros. studio lot, where DC Co-Chairmen and CEOs Peter Safran and James Gunn unveiled their upcoming plans for DC, the two were asked specifically about canceling the release of Leslie Grace’s Batgirl and whether or not they agreed with the decision. 

“I saw the movie,” said Safran, “There are a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera in that film, but that was not releasable. It happens sometimes.”

“I think (Warner Discovery CEO David) Zaslav and the team made a bold and courageous decision to cancel it, because it would have hurt DC and those people involved,” added Safran.

“I spoke to (Batgirl directors) Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah last week — we’d love to be in business with all of them,” added Safran.

Christina Hodson wrote it, and we’re already back in business with her,” said the DC producer, of course referring to the writer being included in Gunn’s writer’s room for DC Universe Chapter One “Gods and Monsters”.

“I think it was not an easy decision, but they made the right decision by shelving it,” emphasized Safran, while also noting “Batgirl is inevitably a character we’ll include in our story.”

Back in August, Warner Bros. Discovery permanently shelved Batgirl which was originally planned to be released on HBO Max, but then moved to a theatrical release sometime in 2022. After spending over $90 million, exceeding the original $70 million, the decision to shelve the film which starred Leslie Grace (In the Heights) as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and featured J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Brendan Fraser as Garfield Lynns/Firefly and Ivory Aquino as DC’s first trans character and Barbara Gordon’s best friend  Alysia Yeoh, was a complete shock to all who worked on the film. To add insult to injury, neither the directors nor the cast of the film was warned that the film was scrapped. 

The film was in the later stages of post-production and had already been screened. While initial reports suggested that the film’s test screenings “were said to be so poorly received by moviegoers that the studio decided to cut its losses and run for the sake of the brand’s future”,  it was later reported that the film was shelved because Warner Bros. Discovery were able to use it as a “tax write-down.”

Warner Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said at a Bank of America Media conference that the shelving of Batgirl was “blown out of proportion” by the press.

“Media likes to talk about media, I guess,” he said back in September. “We have healthy relationships with talent, and we are offering one of the best platforms for anyone in the creative space.”

Don’t despair, El Arbi and Fallah are having no problems getting back to work. As the DC slate news was breaking, Sony announced they are going into pre-production on the fourth Bad Boys movies with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence after their previous collaboration grossed over $426M world wide.