DC Studios CEO Doubles Down On Batgirl Being Terrible: 'It Would've Hurt DC'

During a presentation on the Warner Bros. lot this week, DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran mapped out the future of upcoming DC movies, revealing the title of the new Superman movie that Gunn is writing, dropping news on a new Batman and Robin movie, and teasing a new superhero team in The Authority. However, Gunn and Safran weren’t allowed to solely focus on the future during the presentation. As they fielded questions from gathered journalists, the duo clarified what actually happened to Henry Cavill at the end of his tenure as Superman, and spoke more about why Leslie Grace’s Batgirl movie was shelved.

The shakeup at DC Studios started before James Gunn and Peter Safran took over, and one of the first major shoes to drop was the cancellation of the Batgirl movie that co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were about to steer into post-production. No major reasons were given for the cancellation, though rumors swirled that the finished footage had problems. During the recent DC presentation, however, Safran doubled down on the opinion that Batgirl was bad, telling Indiewire:

I saw the movie. There were a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable. It happens sometimes. That film was not releasable. … I actually think that [David] Zaslav and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it, because it would’ve hurt DC, it would’ve hurt those people involved. I think they really stood up to support DC, the characters, the story, the quality and all that.

Well, that just makes us all the more curious about what might have gone wrong during production. Like, didn’t the studio know what Bilall and Adil were doing on the movie? Was nobody at the executive level tracking the progress of Batgirl? Former DC President Walter Hamada allegedly almost quit over how the movie was unceremoniously shelved. But Safran emphasized that it wasn’t a “talent” issue, clarifying:

It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace. It was built for the small screen. I think it was not an easy decision, but they made the right decision by shelving it.

That begs the easy question: Why not just release it to HBO Max? That was the solution for the Snyder Cut of Justice League, which virtually everyone will tell you was superior to the theatrical cut that had Joss Whedon’s fingerprints all over it. I mean, just watch this trailer and tell me that a DC movie still can’t be compelling on the small screen:

Alas, Batgirl wasn’t meant to be. And now it seems like Barbara Gordon can show up in the newly revealed The Brave and the Bold, which Safran and Gunn say will put a larger focus on the live-action members of the Bat Family, starting with Damian Wayne. Big things are afoot at DC. Let’s see how it all shakes out.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.