The abrupt cancellation of Batgirl is still sending shock waves from Gotham and beyond, revealing tensions at the highest levels of Warner Bros. Diversity as it seeks to pivot its marketing strategy.
In the wake of the brouhaha, Batgirl director Adil El Arbi shared an Instagram image of himself standing between Leslie Grace’s Batgirl and Michael Keaton’s Batman, to give us a taste of what might have been.
Discovery’s head honcho David Zaslav axed the project earlier this week in his quest to find new executive leadership for the studio. Word has it that DC Films president Walter Hamada is now on the edge of submitting his divorce papers. Among other things, he was reportedly upset that he was not consulted on the decision to send Batgirl back to the cave. According to unnamed sources, Hamada has agreed to stay in place until the October 21 release of Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam.
As one source told The Hollywood Reporter, Hamada “is pausing…The decision has not been made to make this adversarial, yet.” Hamada has not yet publicly commented on the controversy.
Zaslav is trying to “reset” DC’s mission to make it more competitive with Disney’s Marvel Studios, which has racked up an impressive success record in the film franchise realm.
On Thursday, Zaslav said, “We think we can build a much stronger, sustainable growth business out of DC. As part of that, we are going to focus on quality. We are not going to release any film before it’s ready…DC is something we can make better.”
Hamada had been in his role since 2018, during a time when DC’s fortunes were flagging in the wake of the meager box-office returns for Justice League. Since then, Hamada has presided over a number of successes: The Joker raked in more than a cool billion in box-office receipts, no kidding, and The Batman garnered nearly $770 million globally, despite the shift in moviegoing habits during the pandemic. Hamada had previously been an executive vice president at New Line, where he managed high-grossing franchises like The Conjuring and It.