Batgirl is getting some support and sympathy from heavy-hitting Hollywood talents.
Co-director Adil El Arbi revealed on Instagram that Marvel chief Kevin Feige, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and Baby Driver director Edgar Wright are among those who have reached out about the $90 million project, which was shockingly shelved by Warner Bros. as a tax write-down after being filmed.
El Arbi quoted Feige’s email to himself and co-director Bilall Fallah: “My friends, I had to reach out and let you know we are all thinking about you both. Because of the wonderful news about the wedding (congrats!) and the disappointing news about Batgirl. Very proud of you guys and all the amazing work you do and particularly Ms. Marvel of course! Can’t wait to see what is next for you. Hope to see you soon.”
Arbi added: “Thanks for all the messages of support all over the world. Shoutout directors Edgar Wright and James Gunn, your kind words and experience mean a lot and help us through this difficult period #batgirlforlife.”
The directors helmed two episodes of Ms. Marvel for Feige. Wright helped develop Ant-Man for Marvel before exiting, while Gunn has worked both sides of the comic-book aisle, helming DC’s The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker along with Marvel’s Guardians franchise.
On Thursday, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav defended his decision to vault the project, which stars Leslie Grace. He suggested the movie wasn’t good enough for a theatrical release yet also too costly for the HBO Max streaming service and that, financially, Batgirl made the most sense as a write-down. “We’re not going to launch a movie until it’s ready,” Zaslav told investors during an earnings call. “We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quarter, and we’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it.”
Batgirl did an audience test screening where it scored in the low 60s, sources previously told The Hollywood Reporter — not stellar, but still far from a number that would typically result in a film not being released at all.
Zaslav also stated the company is implementing a Marvel-like 10-year plan to grow DC into a stronger brand. “You look at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman — these are brands that are known everywhere in the world,” Zaslav said. “We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business where we are going to focus, where there is going to be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC. We believe we can build a much more sustainable business. … We’re going to focus on quality. DC is something that we think we could make better, and we’re focused on it now.”
On Friday morning, The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported that DC Films president Walter Hamada has come on the verge of exiting the studio in the wake of the Batgirl decision, but has agreed to stay at his post at least until the Oct. 21 release of Black Adam.