Warner Bros. Reportedly Toying With The Idea Of Taking 'Batgirl' Theatrically

In the last three years, we’ve seen every major studio launch their own streaming service (Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+, Peackock) in order to stay competitive. But streaming, which just seemed like it was hitting a new golden age, has hit a few major speedbumps. For one, CNN+ just shuttered after a month, and Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in their recent quarterly reports which shook Wall Street and sent Hollywood into a reactive panic.

This means some plans will be changing. Take Warner Bros., and DC Films who were hoping to copy the Marvel model: big screen, event-size movies and corresponding superhero series on TV with a mild twist. WB wanted to also release mid-sized superhero films on HBO Max only as a way to boost subscribers and mark the platform as an exclusive destination for content. This means mid-budgeted films like “Batgirl,” budgeted around $70 million, were going to debut on HBO Max only, not in theaters.

READ MORE: ‘Batgirl’: Leslie Grace Teases Early Discussions About Sequel

Well, the Netflix news has everyone second-guessing themselves. Puck News, in a new report, alleges DC Films and WB are now considering releasing “Batgirl” in theaters and scrapping the HBO Max-only plan.

For one, “Batgirl” on HBO Max only was a Jason Kilar plan. That exec is gone and now Discovery own Warner Bros., and often with regime changes comes an about-face on certain ideas. The idea might be to spend more money on the film (VFX, etc.) and put it into theaters instead.

Puck News says:

“But maybe, Toby Emmerich and his Warners team are thinking, now is the time to invest a bit more money into Batgirl, perhaps up the visual effects and the music budget and the planned marketing spend, and give the movie a theatrical run first? After all, it’s a new day under Warner Bros. Discovery C.E.O. David Zaslav.”

Adding, ‘The Batman,’ admittedly the company’s marquee superhero property, is putting up huge numbers on Max, I’m told, even after generating $750 million in theaters over 45 days (or, perhaps, because it generated those numbers). And, more importantly, the Great Netflix Correction of ‘22 is causing Warners and all of Hollywood to rethink the “all-in” strategy for streaming.

So, file under Maybe? This wouldn’t be the first time Warner Bros. has reneged on this plan even before Discovery took over. Their “Blue Beetle” film featuring “Cobra Kai” star Xolo Maridueña was originally set to be an HBO Max movie, but they apparently liked what they had so much that they decided to make that a theatrical film for August 2023.

“Batgirl” breakout stars Leslie Grace (“In The Heights”), plus J. K. Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Michael Keaton as Batman, and Ivory Aquino. The film was originally expected to arrive in December 2022, as “The Flash” film originally set for November 2022 would re-introduce Michael Keaton’s Batman into the DCEU and tee him up to be a mentor figure to characters like Batgirl. With ‘Flash’ delayed to summer 2023, “Batgirl” is going to have to wait, but that does give WB more time to meditate on their idea.

The film is directed by Belgian/Moroccan duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who are on a roll this year. Not only do they have “Batgirl” waiting in the wings (yes, the film is shot), they directed episodes of “Ms. Marvel” coming out in June and have an entire new feature (“Rebel”) premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May.