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Warner boss Zaslav called ‘imbecile’ by anonymous actor for canceling ‘Batgirl’ film

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An anonymous ‘Batgirl’ cast member responds to the DC film’s sudden cancellation and calls Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav a “coward.” Speaking to IndieWire, the actor said: “The multiple streaming avenues and their vague guarantees appear anything but secure,” in response to one of the publication’s previous columns detailing the studio’s decision to shelve the film. “I am very offended by what happened and feel terrible for the directors and Leslie Grace, who were all wonderful to work with, as well as all of the technicians.”

“It was an enormous, rewarding challenge to make this movie during Covid, and during the cold weather in Glasgow,” the actor’s statement continued. “None of these things matter to an imbecile like [Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav]. His cowardice is breathtaking. I am glad I got to participate and I wish the best for all those involved — except the suits at Warner Brothers. But they all get replaced sooner than later.”

Warner Bros. sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry when the company opted to shelve its upcoming DC film Batgirl, which would have premiered on HBO Max. At the time of its cancellation, the film was estimated to have cost between $70 and $100 million. According to inside sources at the studio, the decision to scrap Batgirl was “not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers, but by the desire for the studio’s slate of DC features to be at a blockbuster scale.”

In a Q2 earnings call held on Aug. 4, Zaslav indicated that part of the reasoning behind the cancellation was to “protect the DC brand.” “We’re not going to launch a movie until it’s ready,” Zaslav said. “We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quarter and we’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it. …The objective is to grow the DC brand, to grow the DC characters but also, our job is to protect the DC brand. And that’s what we’re going to do.” He also revealed that the company has laid out a 10-year plan for the future of DC films, similar to what Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The confirmed cast of ‘Batgirl’ included Leslie Grace in the title role, J.K Simmons as James Gordon and Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly. Michael Keaton was intended to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman after first appearing as the Dark Knight in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). Test audiences reportedly compared the superhero film to a “bad episode of TV,” though they praised Leslie Grace’s performance as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.

MOVIES

I’ve seen ‘Spawn’ movie concept suits – Jamie Foxx

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A Spawn reboot may finally see the light of day, with actor Jamie Foxx saying that he has seen concept suits for the comic book character. He was asked in an interview if he has seen a costume for the film, leading to a surprising answer. “I’ve seen a lot of concepts,” he reveals. “Because Todd, what he does it, every single day he’s doodling and he’s fixing and he’s doing some things that, to me, I think is gonna be like way out when you see it. And how he crafts that cape and how that cape becomes almost like – I’ll say this – as big as the screen that you’re watching.”

A live-action Spawn reboot seems to have been talked about for decades since a sequel to the 1997 release was cancelled. Creator Todd McFarlane has teased the film on multiple occasions throughout the years, with actor Jamie Foxx recently sharing news that may mean the film is much closer to a release than anticipated.

MacFarlane has said he wants the reboot to be rated R, which would be reminiscent of the 2019 R-rated release ‘Joker’, which went on to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.

Foxx thinks those working on the film are ready for their turn. “But it starts in a way that is so cool. And it’s not big budget, you know? And that’s what I love about it. It’s sort of like how when they did the Joker. And so, we’re just like, just getting this right, cooking it right, but staying in contact, keeping the energy going and when we lay it on you, there’s gonna be some moments where you go ‘oh man’.”

More developments are expected at New York Comic-Con in October. Regarding an announcement, McFarlane told CBR at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, “We were debating whether to make a big announcement because we’ve been adding pieces to it here at San Diego. So all the parties that were involved, we had the conversation: ‘Do we make the announcement here or do we wait and keep our gunpowder dry until New York Comic Con?’ And we eventually said we’ll do it at New York.”

Fingers crossed!

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‘WandaVision’ director in talks to direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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Marvel Studios appears to be one step closer to finalizing plans for the highly anticipated “Fantastic Four” reboot, with news that “WandaVision” helmer Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the project, Variety has confirmed.

At the San Diego Comic-Con in July, Marvel boss Kevin Feige teased the movie, which is currently slated to debut on Nov. 8, 2024, revealing that “Fantastic Four” would kick off Phase 6 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Jon Watts, who helmed all three of Sony and Marvel’s “Spider-Man” films, had previously been announced as the “Fantastic Four” director, but exited the project in April. Rumors that Shakman had been tapped to take the job hit the internet earlier this week, with the choice heralded by fans given the director’s successful piloting of the Disney+ series.

For his work on “WandaVision,” Shakman landed an Emmy nomination for outstanding directing for a limited or anthology series or movie, as well as a nod in the outstanding limited or anthology series category as an executive producer on the series. Shakman is also an Emmy nominee for his directing work on Hulu’s “The Great.”

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DC’s troubles continue as ‘Aquaman 2’ and ‘Shazam! 2’ shift dates

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Surprising only a few, ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ and ‘Shazam!: Fury of the Gods will land in theaters later than planned. Per a Variety report, Warner Bros. announced a slew of release date changes on Wednesday, pushing the ‘Aquaman’ follow-up from March 17, 2023 to Dec. 25, 2023.

The ‘Shazam!’ sequel will open on the date previously occupied by Jason Momoa’s undersea hero. The story about Zachary Levi’s Billy Batson was originally set for Dec. 21, 2022. This means ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ will debut a few days after Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ spinoff ‘Rogue Squadron’ (Dec. 23, 2023).

Meanwhile, ‘Shazam!: Fury of the Gods’, initially set to face off against James Cameron’s ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, is now top dog over its new opening weekend.

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