It’s pretty much accepted wisdom at this point that those of us in the general public—at least, outside of the single test screening that reportedly helped seal the movie’s doom—are probably never going to see HBO Max’s shuttered Batgirl. For one thing, while the movie was reported as being 90 percent completed, or more, before Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav pulled the plug on it a few weeks back, that’s not the same as “in a state where it can plausibly be released.” (Look to Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which required an extremely expensive finishing process and months of work before it could be unleashed to sate a baying public.) And second, any such release would screw up the main reason the company shuttered the movie in the first place: So they could write it off as a loss on their taxes. (Because god help them if this thing actually succeeded!)
Still, that doesn’t mean nobody’s getting to see Leslie Grace’s take on Batgirl (or Michael Keaton’s return to the cape and cowl for the first time in decades): Per THR, there are apparently “secret” screenings of footage from the movie being held on the Warner Bros. lot this week, “for people who worked on the movie, both cast and crew, as well as representatives and executives.” Descriptions of the viewings of the uncompleted film refer to these as “funeral screenings,” which is, y’know, an absolute hell of a phrase.
It’s not clear how much of the film is being shown at these events—directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have previously said that they don’t have access to their own footage at this point, so we don’t know what’s been assembled together. Whatever exists, though, is soon to be locked away, presumably so that Warner Bros. Discovery can convincingly tell the IRS that it won’t be profiting in any way from the film—the dream, of course, of any truly major artistic creator.