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Author Topic: Completed Batgirl movie gets cancelled - for real! - and why it is important  (Read 3452 times)

rytrasmi

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Someone put me in touch with WB I can save this thing.

Scene 1: Real Batgirl has too much to drink and eats some bad calamari with Batman while discussing the crime wave.

Scene 2: Real Batgirl falls asleep on her couch.

[Insert Batgirl movie here]

Scene 69: Real Batgirl wakes up and says, "Woah, that was fucked up." She takes some aspirin and goes for a tear on her Batbike.

Roll credits.
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Reckall

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The fact that 90% of the things being canned is woke is only a byproduct - which still tells a lot about the quality of woke products.

I think the evidence is extremely thin that this has anything to do with woke-anything, and everything to do with a massive immediate change away from the hybrid streaming/theater release (or streaming-only) plan they were engaged in.

Sorry, but I'm not sold on this. I'll try to explain why.

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And the proof of that is what you just stated is incorrect. TWO movies were just canned at the same time by the same people, not one. The first is this movie. But the second is a $40M production of a new Scooby Doo animated sequel: Scoob! Holiday Haunt. Which was also finished except some final post production, and everyone behind the scenes says was looking good, and there was no woke-anything relating to it.

I know that Scoob 2 was canned at the same time, as the trades reported both. Maybe since they were canning "Batgirl" they decided to sink Scoob too, as a "tricking" of cancellation is always bad for the optics. However...

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One reason given for both cancellations, despite both being essentially complete and sunk-cost, is that WB wants to immediately end to same-day-and-date release hybrid model which angered a lot of their top creative talent and which was sucking down way too much of the profits.

A good way to anger your top creative talent is to bury their movie (And why they should be angered by a same-day release on multiple platforms? Didn't they sign a contract? Even when Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over "Black Widow" the reason was that she had to be consulted about going VOD as a producer of that movie; contracts have changed since then). Regarding "ending the same-day-and-date" model... fine, but why to bury $150 millions in a day? Put the finished movies out there, recoup some of the losses and move on. Is saving on the the promotion and distribution costs the best solution? Maybe it was worth it for Scoob 2 but for your $100-millions-already-spent "Batgirl"? If they can save the day via a "tax write-down", good for them. Still, there is more to it.

David Zaslav, the new head honcho, has been extremely clear on two points: 1) He is not at Warner for making short-term money with the next movie, 2) DC is the single most important asset that Warner has in its entertainment portfolio; it is supposed to fund everything else. He will be extremely protective of it.

All the pointers indicate that Zaslav wants to rebuild DC in the image that Marvel "once was" (not what Marvel is now, interestingly). That's his strategy. He can't push out a shitty "Batgirl" movie, he can even less push out a shitty woke "Batgirl" movie that will alienate audiences once more, he totally can't push out a shitty woke "Batgirl" movie that was meant to pave the way to an "all-grrl woke power" DC rebrand. If "Batgirl" was good, Zaslav would have had good reasons to push it out anyway. But, no.

A lot of people were interested in seeing Michael Keaton in a sort of "Batman Beyond" mentor figure for "Batgirl" but it was the kind of bait-and-switch that we saw too many times in recent times. He was there to provide some advice, but Batgirl was the usual great, inherently superior, bestest ever at everything female character who became so all by herself - and this is what obliterated "Batgirl" with the DC fans during the test screenings (which were held one month ago, in advance to San Diego Comic Con, and led to the movie not being promoted at all at the Con - along with some "superpositive leaks"; you can distinguish the "superpositive" from the real ones because the former do not describe the movie, the latter do).

Zaslav, let's not forget about this, is already saddled with "The Flash" albatross around his neck. To bury that one will mean to take a $200 millions hit. To reshoot that one would mean to reshoot all of it (and take the same hit). To put it out and hope would be a death sentence, given what Ezra Miller managed to achieve recently. We also know that Ben Affleck was already called back as Batman for Aquaman 2 and that they are in talks with Henry Cavill (who is about to finish shooting the third season of "The Witcher" and will be able to return as Superman, should they agree on a schedule and a contract).

So, we have current DC as the money sinkhole that we just saw, "Batgirl" being shitty and woke, "Batgirl" being shitty because it is woke, and "Batgirl" leading to more wokeness all tied together in a nice knot. Zaslav doesn't want whatever the former executives were doing ("From the gals and dudes that gave you "Wonder Woman '84" and "Birds of Prey" because that's what the crowds want!") and his actions are proving it (he also nuked a $300 million dollars CNN+, while passing, one month after it came out).

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Which in itself is shocking and frankly bigger news than all this woke stuff. If a major production and distribution company has just committed to theatrical release over streaming in this loud and costly a manner, that's going to send shockwaves through the industry. If they're willing to soak about $150M in one day just to deny the streaming companies that content, damn that is sending a message. It's just that the message it's sending isn't the one you're focusing on.

Except that if the message they are sending is "We won't tolerate anymore woke drek" then they have a point. If the message is "The pandemic is over and theatre attendance will totally recover", then they are stupid. First, the pandemic is not over (I know that it is still being called a "shamdemic" by people who have one million deaths in their country alone but let me run with this ball for a while...) Second, the question about theatre attendance is still up in the air. I know that "Top Gun: Maverick" was a big success, mostly because everyone mentions it when asked about recent successes (along with the fact that TG:M is great entertainment and neither preachy nor woke. Hmm...) No other movie in 2022 surpassed $1 billion globally (we still don't have Christmas but we are at the end of the Summer season); nine did in pre-pandemic 2019 (with "Avengers: Endgame" making almost $3 billions).

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Maybe buying some AMC stock right now isn't such a bad idea. Oh look, it's up nearly 10% today.

A lot of people must be reading Deadline. :D

There has been much speculation on why Batgirl was canceled, having to do with it being a bad movie. Sources said that the film tested once (no, more), and the result wasn’t that bad (it was that bad, for the aforementioned reasons), considering that the cut had temporary visual effects that tend to temper audience enthusiasm in the scores (every test screening is like that, not every movie gets canned; as we saw, the problems were with the plot not "the effects" and if I know it then Deadline knows it; this is Deadline hoping that we are morons).

I won't buy - neither the story nor the stock.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2022, 08:58:08 PM by Reckall »
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Omega

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They may still release it. Hollywoods woke community is more than willing to take even huge losses to push their agenda and all they need to do is get marketing to re-push that agenda and we are right back where we left off and the movie is un-canned. Ir even pull a Sonic maneuver and reveal oh golly the fans are mad? Well look we changed stuff for the better. Without changing the story at all.

DocJones

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Cancelled because everyone knows batgirl was hot.


David Johansen

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Maybe they based the plot on The Killing Joke.
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Lurkndog

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I don't hate Ben Affleck, but with the huge success of The Batman there is no reason to bring him back.

Unless you want to do a live action version of The Dark Knight Returns, he'd be kinda great for that in maybe 10 years.

Reckall

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I don't hate Ben Affleck, but with the huge success of The Batman there is no reason to bring him back.

Unless you want to do a live action version of The Dark Knight Returns, he'd be kinda great for that in maybe 10 years.

This is actually part of the mess the former management left for the new one to sort out.

"Joker" and "The Batman" exist in their own "pocket universes". If the outline of the Joker we saw at the end of "The Batman" is the real thing (the character was not named) then they do not even exist in the same "pocket universe", not to mention that "Joker" was set in the early '80s. Anyway, a sequel to "The Batman" is now in doubt, as DC wasn't happy with the box office (IMHO this is unfair as that production was ravaged by COVID and the big set pieces suffered from it). "Joker" already has a sequel.

Viewers actually like Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. His Batman is on the average but many think that Affleck nailed BW in a way no one did before (I agree). The single biggest problem the DCEU caused to itself was that we never had a Batman movie. He was always a co-host with someone else, while even Aquaman, The Flash, Shazam, Batgirl, Supergirl and Wonder Woman got their movies. Even worse, Affleck's Batman had to be phased out, full stop. This is why they called Michael Keaton to portray an older Batman who barely appeared in "Batgirl", "Aquaman 2" and "The Flash".

When "Zack Snyder's Justice League" almost crashed HBO Max due to the number of people that connected at the same time (beside almost crashing the various streaming services around the world who had the rights), the very first thing the management said was "We will not go forward with the Snyderverse". They looked at the Snyder's Cut only as a "what if" that was good to pimp up their streaming service, nothing else. When the new management took over, two of these bozos were sent away and the third (Walter Hamada) will be next. Now they are trying to solve the mess and restore a DCEU with characters the fans actually want.

[BTW, when "Suicide Squad" came out, there was a furry of leaks about how the final cut was far different from the original one by David Ayers. While there is always the stupid who babbles away something, these rumors are never taken seriously. Those who work on a movie are actually very protective of it, at every level. A flurry of leaks is almost always caused by disgruntled crews - from the Director to the catering - who feel the need to warn the public that it is about to be conned; this is why it is usually believable. The same reason explains, for example, why we had all those leaks from the "Batgirl" screenings, as the public does the same.]

Next problem for David Zaslav: "The Flash". Not only we have Ezra Miller on the run but the plot was built specifically to pave the way for the new, safe and diverse Holy Trinity of Batgirl, (a latino) Supergirl and Wonder Woman. "Batgirl" was thankfully nuked, "Supergirl" is in pre-production but she is first introduced in "The Flash". If Zaslav decides to nuke "Supergirl" with minimal loss then her subplot in "The Flash" will make little sense. This can be fixed with reshoots and word from the test screenings is that the movie itself is good. All of this still won't solve the biggest problem, which is Ezra Miller. What to do?

Reshooting the movie with another actor will cost, reportedly, $100 millions. This on top of the $300 millions already spent on production and pre-marketing. Even if you find another good actor on the spot, we would still talk about a movie recreated from the ground up. Are the other actors available? When? Should we just replace the Flash digitally in already existing scenes? Is the rewritten script as good as the original one? DC would, basically, throw $400 millions on a gamble.

The other solution is to sink "The Flash", to sink "Supergirl", call back Affleck (who already said yes) and Cavill (he is "interested"), keep Gal Gadot (as even I would ask for a female presence in the team) and move on from there with a new slate of movies. "Aquaman 2" is fine, "Shazam 2" is, reportedly, good and it is isolated from the main storyline anyway. The same can be said for "Blue Beetle" and "Black Canary" - with only their quality affecting their going forward or cancellation.

tl;dr: At the end, the DCEU ignored the enthusiastic reception of Zack Snyder's Justice League, and betted the bank on HBO Max, "Birds of Prey", "Wonder Woman '84", "Batgirl", "Supergirl" and the they/them Ezra Miller - leaving then the consequences to someone else. Zaslav inherited both the mess of the past and the mess of the future - messes that were dictated by wokeness and wokeness alone. Zaslav right now is desperate to cut costs and he is lucky that he can compensate some sinkings with tax write downs (allowed by the fact that there was a merger). It is my understanding that this window will close this August so he needs to decide quickly.

It is true that shake ups at HBO Max are in the air, as the collapse of Netflix is scaring every streaming service out there (the first earnings report for the new merger could be already out today, along with the future roadmap). I agree that the movies in general are in need of a new distribution model, I don't agree that they should act like if the pandemic is in the rearview and that we are ready to return to "theatrical only" - but this is not my call to make.
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Trond

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Comments on the test screening from before anyone knew it would be canceled:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7PV97zdYaHQ

Generally, audience reactions were “mixed” and “confused”. From the little clip that is shown I think that Bat Girl looks awkward as a “butt kicker” but having seen an interview with the actress I’m actually feeling a bit sorry for her. Not sure about the movie itself, but she wasn’t pushing much of an agenda in that interview at least.

Reckall

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Comments on the test screening from before anyone knew it would be canceled:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7PV97zdYaHQ

Generally, audience reactions were “mixed” and “confused”. From the little clip that is shown I think that Bat Girl looks awkward as a “butt kicker” but having seen an interview with the actress I’m actually feeling a bit sorry for her. Not sure about the movie itself, but she wasn’t pushing much of an agenda in that interview at least.

I saw that, but I think that this one is more accurate (as I heard the same things in multiple places):

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Ruprecht

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They may still release it. Hollywoods woke community is more than willing to take even huge losses to push their agenda and all they need to do is get marketing to re-push that agenda and we are right back where we left off and the movie is un-canned. Ir even pull a Sonic maneuver and reveal oh golly the fans are mad? Well look we changed stuff for the better. Without changing the story at all.
If they can reboot the DC Universe we'll probably see a 'snyder cut' type streaming release.

I also think part of DC's problem is that Joker and that new Batman were very successful and both seem disconnected from the Justice League version of the DC universe. The Marvel Universe movies were all interconnected, even if it was just Nick Fury or some other hero popping into different movies. They built upon each other. DC started with Man of Steel but then jumped into extended Justice League stuff before Wonderwoman or Aquaman or even that universes Batman had a movie of their own.
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Reckall

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They may still release it. Hollywoods woke community is more than willing to take even huge losses to push their agenda and all they need to do is get marketing to re-push that agenda and we are right back where we left off and the movie is un-canned. Ir even pull a Sonic maneuver and reveal oh golly the fans are mad? Well look we changed stuff for the better. Without changing the story at all.
If they can reboot the DC Universe we'll probably see a 'snyder cut' type streaming release.

I also think part of DC's problem is that Joker and that new Batman were very successful and both seem disconnected from the Justice League version of the DC universe. The Marvel Universe movies were all interconnected, even if it was just Nick Fury or some other hero popping into different movies. They built upon each other. DC started with Man of Steel but then jumped into extended Justice League stuff before Wonderwoman or Aquaman or even that universes Batman had a movie of their own.

Well, the 1Q earnings are out and the picture is not rosy. Anyway we got some important items:

- HBO Max and Discovery will be merged, with relative cuts and layoffs. This was to be expected. A bit unexpected was how Zaslav outlined how the two streaming services have "symmetrical" audiences: HBO Max is followed mostly by males, who like scripted entertainment; Discovery is followed mostly by females who like unscripted entertainment. This simple analysis of the market was followed by the expected "Reeee" about "sexism" - but after chopping "Batgirl" Zaslav is a Nazi on Twitter even if it turns out that he once helped Oskar Schindler, so I guess he doesn't care.

- "The Flash" will come out. What Zaslav didn't say was when and/or if there will be reshoots. He also never mentioned Ezra Miller. He also didn't mention that "Supergirl" will be axed - something that was considered a given.

- Zaslav sees the restructuring of the DCEU as a "ten years plan". He called back as a "consultant" Alan Horn. For those who do not know him, Horn already worked once for Warner Bros and supervised all the Harry Potter movies and Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. He was pushed out in 2012 by the new management with the results we all saw for the DCEU. Horn then went at Disney where he became chairman of Walt Disney Studios. He was "honorably discharged" in 2019 (with the results we can currently see at Disney) and Zaslav immediately re-hired him at Warner. Horn is 79 years old so I don't see him working 24/7 for the next ten years, but is telling that Zaslav wants to listen to suggestions by people who proved to be successful in their jobs.

So, that's it for the DCEU drama. We will see.
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Lurkndog

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There are probably a bunch of different ways they can successfully reboot the DC movies.

At the very least, they've already tried out the shitty grimdark approach, so they've eliminated one failure mode.

I mean, if they wanted to, they could just cold open a new Justice League movie with a completely new cast. We know who these characters are.

Aglondir

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The other solution is to sink "The Flash", to sink "Supergirl", call back Affleck (who already said yes) and Cavill (he is "interested"), keep Gal Gadot (as even I would ask for a female presence in the team) and move on from there with a new slate of movies. "Aquaman 2" is fine, "Shazam 2" is, reportedly, good and it is isolated from the main storyline anyway. The same can be said for "Blue Beetle" and "Black Canary" - with only their quality affecting their going forward or cancellation.

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Reckall

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And Ezra Miller gets nailed for burglary immediately ::)

https://variety.com/2022/film/news/ezra-miller-burglary-the-flash-vermont-1235336304/

I heard rumors last week that more bad news about him were about to come out (this happened on May, 1st but only now he was charged). I honestly expected worse.
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GeekyBugle

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There are probably a bunch of different ways they can successfully reboot the DC movies.

At the very least, they've already tried out the shitty grimdark approach, so they've eliminated one failure mode.

I mean, if they wanted to, they could just cold open a new Justice League movie with a completely new cast. We know who these characters are.

As long as it's not the even shittier Marvel Humor approach.
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