Jump to content

The Banished Batgirl Mystery


Recommended Posts

BEWARE: UNUSUALLY WILD BAT-SPECULATION AHOY!

 

So, for those of you who are not Very Online, there's been a Batgirl flick in (rather quiet) production for some time. It starred relative newcomer Leslie Grace (In The Heights), backed up by JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser, and the OG Bat himself Michael Keaton.

 

The premise is certainly interesting: there's not a big bad, there's a medium bad - and a sympathetic one at that. Fraser plays Ted Carson, aka Firefly - a mid-level specialty goon working for Tony Brassi, who tries to go straight to take care of his kids, but gets drawn back into the life and inevitable Bat-confrontations.

 

If it had been done well, it could have rolled with the same kind of dynamic Keaton had in Homecoming. Also more emphasis on the Gordons' domestic life too. If there's a puzzling thing of what I've read up on so far, Keaton may have be a multiverse-hopping version per the (maybe) upcoming The Flash. But generally, this sounds rather better than, say, Catwoman.


The flick will now not be released.
Anywhere. Any platform. Not even TV syndication or free to YouTube. No attempt at distro deals. 

Having tangled briefly with the distro end of Whollyodd, that is an near-unheard-of level of s***canning for ANY movie: the mad bunch I was working for were looking for deals for Dark Tide, High School, and a bunch of other mostly-unwatchable flicks. Many of which had the unfortunate Adrien Brody in. Hell, Uwe Boll movies end up somewhere

 

But $90m worth of primo franchise-baiting Bat-content - with just a couple of weeks of post-prod polish remaining?

 

While some rumour-mongers/trolls called the film "irredeemable", both the major trade rags Variety and Deadline say it wasn't a quality issue, but rather a "strategy" one - it was "too small" a film to fit their new strategy. Not sure I buy this.

 

The Guardian and Wikipedia say it's specifically to take advantage of a tax break during the WB/Discovery merger allowing them to write off irredeemable debts. In this case, $90m of what could have been quite decent movie. This is the version I tend to believe.

 

The same thing happened to the Scoob! sequel Holiday Haunt - another $40m. Admittedly the first of those flicks was not great, but its release hit during the first wave pandemic and would have been a decent enough kiddie-pleaser. (And had Jason Isaacs in it as Dick Dastardly, which is typecasting but fantastic typecasting.)

 

I have... questions.

  • Really irredeemable? Compared to some of the other WB output lately? C'mooooon...
  • Why pick on this movie instead of the rather more troubled Flash, which will be the first press junket monitored by the FBI for clues to its star's location?
  • What happens to any deals its stars might have signed for their pay-for-play points? Is there a cue to sue (similar to Scarlett's guaranteed-distro case?)
  • At this point, should/can DC pull the plug on its partnership with Warner Bros - which seems to have made a number of disastrous choices with the franchise over recent years - and find a new home, or go solo as Marvel did?

 

Methinks something stinks. And it doesn't smell of turkey.


What say we all?

Edited by ThaOGDreamWeaver

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND... HEY, GET YOUR OWN DAMN SIGNATURE.

Look out for me being generally cool, stylish and funny (delete as applicable) on Excelsior.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No matter what is going on in Ezra life I'd still watch the Flash. 

 

I heard of the Batgirl on Brandon Frasiers side that's how I knew about it. But, it didn't really sound that serious, as it was a plan but in limbo kind of thing.

https://www.twitch.tv/boomie373

The Revenants twitch channel, come watch us face plant, talk smack, and attempt to be world class villains.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was an interesting read, and unexpected.  I'd heard rumor of the film and was hoping for a good roll for Brendon Frasier.  Firefly sounded like an interesting choice for villain.

 

The first thought that I had was not of Uwe Boll (that was the second), but of the bizarre case of the 1994 Fantastic Four live action film:  filmed for specific reasons that would NOT require it to appear in the theater or TV.   It doesn't even appear in IMDB, though there are bootleg copies out there. There are differences though:

  • Fantastic Four was filmed with a string-of-the-shoestring budget.
  • It contained no big names among its cast (at least for that time).

Another thought that goes through my mind is that of Star Trek's The Cage: if all the footage is shot and most of post production is done, can a new film be created later from taking the footage of this film, re-writing a bit, and shooting a few new scenes with the cast (and perhaps a few additional cast members)?  This was done with The Cage, where a good chunk of the footage was used for The Menagerie, and through that, was eventually so popular that Paramount/CBS released the original episode as well.  I've seen it done in other productions as well, though the one other than sprang to mind left just as quickly as I was typing this.  This tactic could answer your "Really irredeemable?" challenge.

 

Is it a "partnership" or an "ownership" between Warner Brothers and DC?  I thought it to be the latter.  One you walk out of, the other you don't.

 

I do think pulling the plug so late in the project says there's something really off.  Movie companies do not sink that kind of money, materials, and manpower into a film without some remuneration, even at a loss.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, Techwright said:

I do think pulling the plug so late in the project says there's something really off.  Movie companies do not sink that kind of money, materials, and manpower into a film without some remuneration, even at a loss.

 

I concur, though I feel it's off within the company as opposed to the flick. Movie financing is an arcane science (lookup the idea of "rolling breakeven" if you don't believe me - how to extract as much money as possible from a flick regardless of its success before it becomes taxably profitable.)

 

But canning not one but two perfectly serviceable bits of filler content - total expenditure $130m - as a multiple factored debt writeoff before a merger completes... I'd need someone versed in the proper dark arts of accountomancy to explain it, but it feels real. Especially having gone through restructures where entire departments, profitable or not, got redlined to meet a specific target level of company size and opex.

 

And yet... there must have been a dozen possible costly dev hell projects that could have got the boot. Why Batgirl?

I mean, Flash had quite a lot of issues, but the CW's roster was also gutted to make way for... Gotham Knights?

 

EDIT: also, you're correct: DC is now a sub-unit of Warner Brothers, which is in turn now a sub-unit of whatever the WB/Discovery merger turns out looking like. 

 

EDIT 2: hoo boy. It's definitely a company problem.

Following the merger, WB/D are planning to gut HBO Max (the streaming platform, not the content arm... yet...) and transfer the content onto the Discovery+ platform. https://www.thewrap.com/hbo-max-layoffs-warner-bros-discovery-q2-earnings-preview/

 

That's kinda like kicking all your passengers off a luxury 777 and ramming them onto a MAC Hercules with one wing on fire because it'll still get them where they're going. Probably. Still, that means a whole load of good VoD and platform nerds going spare. Guess I'll be digging through another one of those spreadsheets.

 

EDIT 3: per the NY Post: David Zaslav has form for this stuff, and this isn't the biggest cost-cutting swing he's taken this year. Back in April, he wiped the CNN+ platform in less than a month because it wasn't as instant a hit as predicted. That's $300m of investment, staff training and development gone.

Edited by ThaOGDreamWeaver

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND... HEY, GET YOUR OWN DAMN SIGNATURE.

Look out for me being generally cool, stylish and funny (delete as applicable) on Excelsior.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this point I'm just left wondering how many media companies Disney is allowed to buy before Antitrust laws kick in.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Torchbearer

Discount Heroes SG:

Frostbiter - Ice/Ice Blaster

Throneblade - Broadsword/Dark Armor Brute

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They touch the Harley Quinn series, we riot. 

 

Incidentally, WBD are also toying with release dates of new flicks. Shazam II drops six days to avoid Avatar II's debut weekend - fair enough in one sense, but cuts quite close to the Christmas season. Aquaman II is likely but not confirmed to get bounced again - from its current March 17 2023 date to further down the schedule. Confidence much?

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND... HEY, GET YOUR OWN DAMN SIGNATURE.

Look out for me being generally cool, stylish and funny (delete as applicable) on Excelsior.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, ThaOGDreamWeaver said:

They touch the Harley Quinn series, we riot. 

 

Incidentally, WBD are also toying with release dates of new flicks. Shazam II drops six days to avoid Avatar II's debut weekend - fair enough in one sense, but cuts quite close to the Christmas season. Aquaman II is likely but not confirmed to get bounced again - from its current March 17 2023 date to further down the schedule. Confidence much?

One note, one side note:

 

Note:  Is it possible they're delaying Aquaman II in part because of the negativity surrounding Amber Heard right now?  DC has some PR nightmares on their hands due to public views of her and Ezra, though in counterpoint, they do seem to be moving forward with the Flash movie.

 

Sidenote:  I'm very curious how they intend to move forward with Shazam movies.  3 years between films is a long time when you've got kids growing up on screen.  The child actors were great in the first movie, but I was surprised that they didn't go for a 9 or 10 year old for Billy Batson.  That could have gotten them 4 movies before such an actor turned 20.  But then maybe they're shooting for the 1970s TV version of Captain Marvel/Shazam, where "young" Billy looked to be a 23-year-old, fresh out of college,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Techwright said:

Is it possible they're delaying Aquaman II in part because of the negativity surrounding Amber Heard right now?

Check out Midnight's Edge.  From my understanding, they want to replace Amber Heard with Emilia Clarke.  There's also something in the larger DCCU dealing with how Keaton was supposed to be introduced in the new Flash movie, and also to serve as the mentor to Batgirl, but due to these issues, Ben Affleck has been hired back on to take his place...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

As far as I can see with the Shazam flicks, they're building that into the storyline - as Billy grows, so do his needs, responsibilities, so on. It's 100% a kids' movie with a slightly weird premise: but ran with it and made it a very decent offering. Zach Levi also pulls off the supermanchild schtick with aplomb.

 

Side note to the side note: my only gripe with the first Shazam was the same I had with most of Marvel - they had a villain problem. A good antagonist has to be challenging, not a duplicate of the protagonist, have a fleshed backstory of their own, and have a proper actor attached to it. They hit three out of four - even if Sivana had equal-ish powers, the catch was he knew what he was doing. Mark Strong is a reliable and dependable baddie, did good work with what he was given and given some pretty horrific/OTT sidekicks. But didn't feel a whole person like Keaton's Tooms, Molina's Doc Ock or Dafoe's Osborn.

This time, they get to deal with Mirren and Liu. Good luck, kids. 

 

As far as the Amber Heard stuff goes - regardless of any toxic fandom or on-set issues: never heard of her before the first Aquaman, her Mera didn't really seem to build any chemistry with Momoa (or anybody, for that matter) and carried off neither warrior nor princess. Personally I'd kill off that fairly thin character in a messily final way rather than recast, and work up someone new.

 

Clarke is interesting in that they've worked together before and can play to each others' strengths. But I was thinking more a Jane Foster type, maybe an aquatic archaeologist or marine biologist (Jenna Coleman, Mischa Barton, Steph Adams...?) to mirror his upbringing, give him an anchor back on land, and someone to share the same wonder he felt when he entered this world. And who equals his presence with her own, balancing his strength with smarts, which gives you new plot options. Big ol' rewrite/reshoot but it'd be worth it....

 

...am I rambling? I'm rambling.

 

Keaton - an actor's actor and not a man to suffer fools. He was apparently great to work with for Holland, understood the nerves and helped everybody out (despite relentless teasing and Bat-jokes). And that new kid works his ass off. Keaton's gonna respect that.

 

Miller, on the other hand... was allegedly going through some things on-set, with diva meltdowns, performative mumbling/ranting/chanting etc when he didn't "get" the scene (ie: hadn't prepared), and at least one production-stop/crisis meeting. Ezra, doubt you're reading this, but y'aint Brando yet and you don't get to waste crew or performers' time.

In short, I'd heard him described as "talent" rather than "actor" before (not a compliment). Now, he's gone through "difficult" (ouch) and out the other side to "problematic".

That is not a word you come back from easily. 

 

Much as donning the cape again is fun, I'm not sure Keaton wants his name on this incarnation of the franchise or to work on chaotic sets again.

Edited by ThaOGDreamWeaver

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND... HEY, GET YOUR OWN DAMN SIGNATURE.

Look out for me being generally cool, stylish and funny (delete as applicable) on Excelsior.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok. Going to admit that I had no idea there was a Batgirl feature happening. Or maybe I heard about it going into production and forgot. Either way, just heard of The Shelvening yesterday.  It would be interesting to hear in what ways it "tested poorly;" even NPR noted that we got Clooney-Nips Batman on the big screen - how well could that have possibly tested?

 

Whole lot of DC/CW in this thread, really just posting to say ...

 

3 hours ago, ThaOGDreamWeaver said:

As far as the Amber Heard stuff goes - regardless of any toxic fandom or on-set issues: never heard of her before the first Aquaman, her Mera didn't really seem to build any chemistry with Momoa (or anybody, for that matter) and carried off neither warrior nor princess. Personally I'd kill off that fairly thin character in a messily final way rather than recast, and work up someone new.

 

The only reason I know her name is because she did a Reasonably Priced Car lap on Top Gear and Clarkson was rather ... interested ... in his guest's ... interests. Generally hilarious watching him embarrass himself, even if it is on purpose most of the time. 🤣

 

 

Edited by InvaderStych
stuff and things

"... And I'd kill to get away; I'd die to make my own way.  And I'd lose to celebrate;  I'd win to see the good days.  And I'll never stop the fighting, so bring to me your worst.

I'll never stop believing that I could rule the world one day ..."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, InvaderStych said:

It would be interesting to hear in what was it "tested poorly;" even NPR noted that we got Clooney-Nips Batman on the big screen - how well could that have possibly tested?


Tests with an NY audience allegedly had mixed to poor reactions to pacing: cast scored good to average. CGI, final cut and post-prod wasn't done yet, so there were some holes.
That said, my Bothan spies tell me the briefing about "testing poorly" and "quality issues" come from a very small coterie of executives.

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND... HEY, GET YOUR OWN DAMN SIGNATURE.

Look out for me being generally cool, stylish and funny (delete as applicable) on Excelsior.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, ThaOGDreamWeaver said:

Bothan spies tell me the briefing about "testing poorly" and "quality issues" come from a very small coterie of executives.

 

That tracks with what I know of small coteries of studio execs.

Edited by InvaderStych

"... And I'd kill to get away; I'd die to make my own way.  And I'd lose to celebrate;  I'd win to see the good days.  And I'll never stop the fighting, so bring to me your worst.

I'll never stop believing that I could rule the world one day ..."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They just dumped the Blue Beetle movie and the GL anthology series too. If i may put on my foiled hat for a moment I'm thinking Batgirl could be a write-off now and finished for a streaming release in a few years after the inevitable 'release Batgirl' campaign. Admittedly I don't know how corporate tax write-offs work. But they know, and they're the ones writing it off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Discovery is majority owner of Warner Brothers

Discovery is just cleaning Warner Brothers the fuck out, cutting and slashing damn near everything

Discovery's CEO is ruthless cost cutter

 

Prepare your CRT TVs and Cable Boxes however for Deadliest Catch x Batman and Lone Star Law x Loonie Toons reality shows tho

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later
Posted (edited)

Rezzing this thread for some new Bat-news. The HBO Max pre-tax-deadline purge continues...

  • Batman: The Caped Crusader (similar idea to X-Men '97: effectively the return of Batman:TAS, with Bruce Timm, Conroy and more due to return, plus some new fella called JJ Abrams in the writer's room. So, Batman with more lens flares).
  • 2x Looney Tunes specials: a Porky/Daffy/Marvin sci-fi adventure and a full-length Bugs Bunny musical in the style of What's Opera, Doc?.
  • A Steve Urkel animated special... let's gloss over that for the moment...
  • Gumball live action/animation crossover
  • All new kids' and family-oriented series and films for the foreseeable future - the entire development department's gone
  • 200+ archive episodes of Sesame Street removed from the platform to avoid paying residuals to actors and crew. (B***ards).

 

Anything that's currently in production will be shopped to other networks, but could wind up in the same IRS-sealed vault as Batgirl if they don't find a potential home in the next eight days.

 

Side note: according to the Variety Media In A Bear Market report, almost as many folks are cancelling SVOD subs with budgets being tight - it's now at the same rate as new subs. D+ is more-or-less holding its own, Netflix has a problem, HBO is suffering a bit... and Discovery is haemorrhaging subs.

 

So, naturally, the HBO-D execs punt on a stripped down, GRIMDARK version of their cape properties, no kids' stuff (I may be an adult paying for the streaming, but I'll admit to needing a babysitter now and again), and slapping it on the much-hated but much cheaper Discovery platform.

 

The only thing I understand in this madness is why they're sticking with Ezra Miller for The Flash. Test scores are in now and they're good. Really good. No Way Home good. Unless Miller goes full supervillain in the interim, it should be a proper summer tentpole movie like we haven't seen in years.

Edited by ThaOGDreamWeaver
  • Thanks 1

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND... HEY, GET YOUR OWN DAMN SIGNATURE.

Look out for me being generally cool, stylish and funny (delete as applicable) on Excelsior.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, ThaOGDreamWeaver said:

Rezzing this thread for some new Bat-news. The HBO Max pre-tax-deadline purge continues...

  • Batman: The Caped Crusader (similar idea to X-Men '97: effectively the return of Batman:TAS, with Bruce Timm, Conroy and more due to return, plus some new fella called JJ Abrams in the writer's room. So, Batman with more lens flares).
  • I was mourning such a lost opportunity until I read JJ Abrams was involved.  The man and his work seriously damaged two of my beloved franchises.  Why should he strike at a third?  If it removes him from ever touching a DC project, I'll be happy to lose this one.  Abrams is fine with his own material.  I enjoyed Fringe.  Just don't ever let him mess with established products. 
  • 2x Looney Tunes specials: a Porky/Daffy/Marvin sci-fi adventure and a full-length Bugs Bunny musical in the style of What's Opera, Doc?.
  • I was just thinking the other day that I'd like to see more of Duck Dodgers in the 24th and 1/2 Century.  Guess I've a long wait.
  • A Steve Urkel animated special... let's gloss over that for the moment...
  • It feels weird, but I'd thank them for never letting this see the light of day.  HBO Max:  Did I do that?  (in the most nasally voice possible.)
  • Gumball live action/animation crossover
  • All new kids' and family-oriented series and films for the foreseeable future - the entire development department's gone
  • 200+ archive episodes of Sesame Street removed from the platform to avoid paying residuals to actors and crew. (B***ards).  This one annoys and puzzles me:  Why this particular set of SS episodes?  Why not another 200?  It feels like there's another explanation behind this, or perhaps a deeper one, like they're targetting a particular time when specific actors where in the show.  And will the loss be permanent, or just for a platform or length of time?

 

Anything that's currently in production will be shopped to other networks, but could wind up in the same IRS-sealed vault as Batgirl if they don't find a potential home in the next eight days.

 

Side note: according to the Variety Media In A Bear Market report, almost as many folks are cancelling SVOD subs with budgets being tight - it's now at the same rate as new subs. D+ is more-or-less holding its own, Netflix has a problem, HBO is suffering a bit... and Discovery is haemorrhaging subs.  It's what I've said for a long time: the model is not sustainable for the long term. Recession jitters just highlight that.  I suspect eventually we'll have something in design like cable:  many channels under one subscription service and price.

 

So, naturally, the HBO-D execs punt on a stripped down, GRIMDARK version of their cape properties, no kids' stuff (I may be an adult paying for the streaming, but I'll admit to needing a babysitter now and again), and slapping it on the much-hated but much cheaper Discovery platform.

 

The only thing I understand in this madness is why they're sticking with Ezra Miller for The Flash. Test scores are in now and they're good. Really good. No Way Home good. Unless Miller goes full supervillain in the interim, it should be a proper summer tentpole movie like we haven't seen in years.  Curious.  I've gotten mostly a "meh" from the uber-geeks in my office in regards to Ezra Miller's Flash movie.  Could the movie be trending well despite his crazy antics?  Are people actually excited about seeing Michael Keeton back in the black hood or perhaps excited because this is an interpretation of Flashpoint, one of the best Flash stories, rather than who is portraying the Flash?

As always, voicing in orange.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Techwright said:

It's what I've said for a long time: the model is not sustainable for the long term. Recession jitters just highlight that.  I suspect eventually we'll have something in design like cable:  many channels under one subscription service and price.

That exists here in the UK: all the majors can be bought with the long-dominant player Sky - not just bundled, but integrated into all the menus and such on their boxes and branded TVs.

 

I think we've just come out of a "gold rush" stage where everyone's trying to grab land, and now they're finding not every one of them thar SVOD hills is rich in the stuff. So much as in 1848, the real winners wind up being the service providers. But instead of shovels, picks, jerky and whisky, they provide discounted or more convenient access for users in return for a cut. The shakeout and verticalisation will come: I think one of P+, HBO-D and Netflix will get eaten, and Hulu need to formalise their friends-with-benefits relationship with D+. Apple TV will just wander on until they get bored with it.

 

8 hours ago, Techwright said:

This one annoys and puzzles me:  Why this particular set of SS episodes?  Why not another 200?

It's everything between seasons 8 (1976) and 35 (2004), and large swathes of the earlier ones. Which is odd, as - not giving away my age - if I was a parent, aunt or grandparent wanting to watch with smol nerds, I'd want to go to the years I remember. Allegedly this is to do with withholding residuals to a specific group of actors - and, well, that crew would still mostly be alive and in need of rental payments for that big MPTF retirement village in Calabasas.

 

(Though given Zaslav's coterie of friends, that era does include all the "Ronald Grump" episodes...)

 

8 hours ago, Techwright said:

Are people actually excited about seeing Michael Keaton back in the black hood or perhaps excited because this is an interpretation of Flashpoint, one of the best Flash stories, rather than who is portraying the Flash?

Rags say: good story, good supporting cast, and Miller's on-screen persona fits the bill well. If the audience can forget about the off-screen issues, could be good.

If they can't - think the Depp/Fantastic Beasts situation - maybe not. (Didn't help that the second flick was not great to start with.)

 

Plus... Bat-Spoilers ahoy:

Spoiler

According to assorted rags: it's sounding half classic Flashpoint and half Into The Flashverse: which might be no bad thing.

 

A digitally restored Adam West will rock the cape one last time, along with Christopher Reeve and Lynda Carter (who was at least available to voice, but still might be rebuilt by Ukrainians). Plus Gustin, Cavill, Affleck and maybe Gadot. Even Clooney keeps getting asked about it in interviews and, as usual, denies it flatly. Though return of the Bat-Nipples might be one too far even for this flick.

 

Oh, and no Ray Fisher. But WB gonna WB.

 

Side note on the business end of SVOD: those of you who are Very Online might have noted Lucas talking about why Star Wars probably wouldn't get made today for business reasons. Here's Matt Damon putting into hard numbers in 1'40".

 

And no, SVOD rental or access payments don't pay anything like what DVD sales and rentals did. It's not as bad as Spotify vs CD or vinyl sales for music - but makes Apple's swingeing cut look tame.

 

 

Edited by ThaOGDreamWeaver
Side note (again, sorry)
  • Like 1

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND... HEY, GET YOUR OWN DAMN SIGNATURE.

Look out for me being generally cool, stylish and funny (delete as applicable) on Excelsior.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/4/2022 at 9:10 PM, Mr. Vee said:

They just dumped the Blue Beetle movie and the GL anthology series too. If i may put on my foiled hat for a moment I'm thinking Batgirl could be a write-off now and finished for a streaming release in a few years after the inevitable 'release Batgirl' campaign. Admittedly I don't know how corporate tax write-offs work. But they know, and they're the ones writing it off.


If they’re taking a write-off on this, then the movie has to be destroyed and never released in any form whatsoever.

 

That said, in recent days there have been multiple screenings for cast, crew, and executives on the WB lot, so I am 100% confident this will get leaked online sooner rather than later.

  • Thumbs Up 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...