The internet went crazy on Tuesday when Warner Bros. Discovery announced it was scrapping the release of the HBO Max original film Batgirl. Unfortunately, it looks like that movie is just one casualty in the company’s ongoing cost-cutting measures.
According to Variety, in addition to Batgirl, the studio has also seemingly scrapped the release of the House Party reboot from LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Springhill Entertainment. Originally scheduled to debut July 28, the film was taken off HBO Max’s slate, with no new date announced.
Look, no one was asking for a remake of the 1990 Kid ‘n Play classic, but now that the film is ready to be released, you might as well give it to us.
In response to the backlash calling Batgirl’s cancellation racist and sexist, Warner Bros. Discovery released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl…and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”
Per Variety, the film’s directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, responded to the upsetting news in a statement.
“We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it,” the duo wrote. “As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.”
Here’s the thing: It’s common for a leadership change to cause a “strategic shift” in corporate plans, especially in Hollywood. Every time someone new takes over a studio, projects are shuffled around. However, it’s usually the content from people of color that finds its way onto the chopping block first.
Case in point, Warner Bros. Discovery has already canceled The Last O.G. starring Tracy Morgan; announced that Snowpiercer Season 4 would be its last, while also taking the first three seasons off HBO Max; canceled Season 2 of Chad hours before it was set to premiere and recently canceled late-night talk show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, which prominently featured Black comedians and correspondents.
It’s clear CEO David Zaslav is taking a “new sheriff in town” approach to the company’s budget, but let’s hope that he also realizes it’s not always about the money. Sometimes it’s about inspiring the next generation by letting them see heroes that look like them fighting next to Batman.