Batgirl directors receive support from Kevin Feige, James Gunn, and Edgar Wright after film's shelving
Arbi, who helmed the production with Bilall Fallah, revealed in an Instagram post Thursday that he's been met with support from the prominent comic-book-adaptation visionaries — something he appreciates following the difficult news that the $90 million venture for HBO Max would not be released.
In the post he shared an email he received from Marvel boss Feige, who previously teamed with Fallah for two episodes of Ms. Marvel.
"My friends, I had to reach and let you know we are all thinking about you both," Feige wrote. "Very proud of you guys and all the amazing work you do and particularly Ms. Marvel of course! Can't wait to see what is next for you. Hope to see you soon."
Arbi then expressed his gratitude to Wright, Gunn, and others who offered words of encouragement, writing, "Thanks for all the messages of support all over the world. Shoutout directors Edgar Wright and James Gunn. Your kind words and experience mean a lot and help us through this difficult period."
Wright famously vacated the director's chair for 2015's Ant-Man over creative differences, while Gunn has had a foot in both the DC and Marvel universes with The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
Arbi and Fallah, who previously joined forces for the global hit Bad Boys for Life, released a statement earlier in the week announcing the already-shot film would not see the light of day.
"We still can't believe it," they said in a statement. "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 had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha'Allah."
Batgirl was set to star Leslie Grace in the titular role, as well as Michael Keaton, J.K. Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Corey Johnson, and Rebecca Front.
Reports that the film had been scrapped, even though it had been shot, emerged Tuesday, as it was revealed that Warner Bros. has also canceled the release of its $40 million animated film Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, based on the Scooby Doo series.
A story by the New York Post revealed that test screenings for Batgirl had been unfavorable, leading the studio to decide it would not make it into theaters or land on HBO Max. The production initially had a $70 million budget, which reportedly grew to nearly $90 million after COVID-19-related delays.
A story by the Associated Press reported that Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive David Zaslav shifted strategy on film releases as a cost-cutting measure after former chief executive Jason Kilar attempted to offer a day-and-date release strategy in 2021 by launching films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.
Representatives for Kevin Feige, James Gunn, and Edgar Wright did not immediately respond to EW's requests for comment.
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