In addition to producing live-action streaming series that are a part of the DCEU, Warner Bros has begun development on a few DC films that will be exclusive to the streaming service as well. Batgirl, which will introduce Barbara Gordon to the DCEU, is currently the first of what is presumed to be many HBO Max exclusive DC films, but recent shifts in the DC film release slate may have given it a window of opportunity for a theatrical release.
Substantial changes to many upcoming DC film release dates were part of a cascade begun by Black Adam being pushed back from its July release date to October 21st, 2022. Shazam: Fury of the Gods jumped forward on the calendar, taking the December 16th, 2022 slot previously held down by Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, knocking the sequel into March of next year. Also moving into 2023 is The Flash, streaking to June 23rd, 2023, 7 months later than previously scheduled. Following the release of Blue Beetle on August 18th, 2023 there is nothing set moving forward, meaning Batgirl would have a perfect window to release in late 2023.
The Flash being delayed means Batgirl’s reported 2022 release is highly unlikely as the events of that film directly lead into the The Flash, reintroducing Keaton as the main Batman of the DC Extended universe. So what should Warner Brothers do with this new opportunity? Move Batgirl to a late 2023 release date and give the film the opportunity for a theatrical release instead of only putting it on HBO Max.
We’ve seen quite a bit from the set of Batgirl and we know the film is set during the holiday season with the set in Glasgow being covered with a ton of Christmas decorations. Instead of creating another Shazam! situation, where a film centered around one season is released in the opposite, the film could thrive with a a theatrical release during the 2023 holiday season.
Blue Beetle was originally set to be an HBO Max exclusive film but was moved to a theatrical release, so its possible for Batgirl to get the same treatment. Batgirl is an instantly recognizable character for many people and has had prominent roles in many DC projects. This move seems like a no-brainer for Warner Brothers, who could bring in more money with a more strategic release. It would also give the film additional time during production, as it always seemed a bit risky to shoot and release a film in the same year.
Batgirl’s release date is still unknown as production on the film continues in Glasgow. The film will be directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah with Leslie Grace in the titular role. Alongside Grace will star J.K. Simmons, Michael Keaton, Brendan Fraser, Ivory Aquino, Jacob Scipio, and Rebecca Front.