It’s been a few weeks since Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced he was killing plans to release the studio’s Batgirl film starring Leslie Grace (In the Heights).
On Wednesday (August 23), however, The Hollywood Reporter reported that screenings were being held this week for the cast, crew, and studio executives to see the film before it likely goes into a virtual vault somewhere for all eternity. According to THR’s sources, the events are being described as “funeral screenings.” But it gets grimmer. There are rumors that the studio will also allegedly delete the movie to prove to the IRS that it won’t ever make revenue from it.
Zaslav shocked the film industry when he first revealed that Batgirl would never see the light of day on HBO Max as originally thought or as a theatrical release. Instead, Zaslav decided the studio should scrap the film entirely, so it could take a tax write-off and recoup the cost of the movie.
“I am proud of the love, hard work, and intention all of our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film over 7 months in Scotland,” Grace wrote on social media about the film after it was scrapped. “I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process!”
Many on social media commented on the peculiar decision to screen a film that only a select group of people would ever get to see. But it’s Ivory Aquino, who was set to play the first trans character in a DC Comics movie in Batgirl, who stood out. In a letter to Zaslav, she expressed her grief and heartbreak over something that she and the rest of the cast and crew poured their hearts into.
Furthermore, if it was up to Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the footage would’ve ended up in their hands. The duo admitted that when they found out the movie had been shelved, the first thing they tried to do was get a copy of it.
“I called our editor…right away and said, ‘Yo, you got to back up that s—t,” El Arbi said. “Back it up. Copy the movie!”
Fallah said he got a call from El Arbi telling him that he should bootleg the movie on his phone. Apparently, Fallah was going to follow through with the request, but when he logged onto the server, “everything was blocked.”
El Arbi added: “I apologize, that’s not the right thing to do, but I was panicking. It was an emotional reaction. It’s not good to do piracy.”
We’re not sure what kind of movie the cast and crew were able to see during these special screenings. El Arbi and Fallah said that although the movie was in post-production, “there was a lot of work to be done” and that “there were no VFX, there were missing scenes [and] missing reshoots.”
Hopefully, whatever they get to see gives them at least some closure.