Just a little over a year ago we were celebrating Leslie Grace (In The Heights) getting the lead in the Warner Bros/DC Films Batgirl but now it has been confirmed that the film will not be released theatrically or on HBO Max. The movie also stars Brendan Fraser, J.K. Simmons and Michael Keaton reprising his role as Bruce Wayne and Deadline reported it was supposed to be released in 2023. The publication reported that the film doesn’t align with the new strategy being implemented by WB and HBO Max. The studio is looking to make theatrical tentpoles with budgets at $90 million-plus, and Batgirl was greenlighted at $70 million budget. However, the New York Post, which was the first to break the story, reported that the budget was closer to $100 million however it allegedly didn’t perform well with audiences during test screenings. The Hollywood Reporter reported that it landed a score in the low 60s and is believed to have only tested once. It’s also been reported that the film can be a tax write-off as they’ve made no profit from it.
A couple of days after the announcement, the 27-year-old Dominican American actress issued a statement on social media along with photos and video from production: “Querida familia! On the heels of the recent news about our movie “Batgirl,” 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. I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process!”
Querida familia! On the heels of the recent news about our movie “Batgirl,” 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. pic.twitter.com/jGACQHoMjm
— Leslie Grace (@lesliegrace) August 4, 2022
Filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life) also released a statement in response to the news: “We are saddened and shocked by the news. As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.” They went on to thank the cast and credited Grace with portraying Batgirl with “passion, dedication, and humanity.”
Grace was the first Latina to front a DC Extended Universe film while transgender actress Ivory Aquino played a supporting role, according to The Hollywood Reporter. DC Films has a few Latinx actors linked to their films including: Xolo Maridueña (Cobra Kai) as Blue Beetle, Colombian American actress Sasha Calle as Supergirl in The Flash, and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) in Shazam! Fury of the Gods. “Representation in the entertainment industry really matters, and I’m super honored, honestly [to be the first Latina Supergirl],” Calle previously stated.
Fans have taken to Twitter expressing their disappointment: “Will never forgive @wbpictures for making this woman endure months of racism just to never let her prove herself as #batgirl I don’t care how “smart” a business decision it was. Enjoy the PR nightmare,” tweeted @watchwithneebz.
Will never forgive @wbpictures for making this woman endure months of racism just to never let her prove herself as #batgirl I don’t care how “smart” a business decision it was. Enjoy the PR nightmare. pic.twitter.com/3knsZsibPZ
— watchwithneebz (@watchwithneebz) August 3, 2022
Seeing an Afro-Latina play such an iconic character would’ve been a huge moment of representation in Hollywood but regardless, Grace is forever keeping the character close to her heart: To every Batgirl fan – THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, “my own damn hero!” #Batgirl for life!