Amid Batgirl "Funeral Screenings," Ivory Aquino Makes a Heartfelt Plea

Earlier this month, Warner Bros. Discovery decided that canceling several major projects so they could write them off on their taxes was the way to go, and one of the projects that ended up on the chopping block was Batgirl. Since the announcement, a lot has gone down, including the cast and crew of the movie speaking out about the cancelation and people begging the studio to reconsider. That doesn't appear to be the case, though, if a story that dropped yesterday is anything to go by. According to The Hollywood Reporter, so-called "funeral screenings" of Batgirl will be taking place soon for select people before the footage is put on the metaphorical shelf.

Batgirl Concept Art from DC FanDome. © 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The thing about this shelving that makes it different from something like the Snyder Cut is the reason why Batgirl is getting canceled, and that is a tax break. For Warner Bros. Discovery to get said break, they need to prove that they have made no money on the movie, or they will have to pay that money back. So once that break goes into effect, if they should decide to release the film or anything else connected to this break like Scoob!: Holiday Haunt someday, it wouldn't just be paying to finish VFX or doing reshoots. They would also have to pay back that tax break money, making it even more unlikely that Batgirl or anything connected to this tax break will ever see the light of day. You aren't just justifying the costs of completing the project; you're also justifying the costs of giving the IRS back a bunch of money. Star Ivory Aquino posted a heartfelt plea on behalf of the movie.

A letter to #DavidZaslav @WBD

Dear Mr. Zaslav,

I just read an article @THR about supposed 'funeral screenings' of #Batgirl and the possibility afterwards that the film footage would be destroyed.. if this is the case, as one of many who poured our hearts into the making of this movie, I ask that this measure be reconsidered.

As much as I've tried my best to be strong these past few weeks, I'd find myself crying, for lack of a better term, from grief, and tonight was one of those nights. As much as Batgirl has been labeled a woke film, it simply came together that way because of writing that reflects the world we live in. For me, more than anything, it is a father-daughter story which hits close to home as my Dad passed a year ago, shortly before I booked this project, and I was hoping it would resonate with other children around the world, grown and not-so-grown, who hold their fathers in the highest esteem and who could see Batgirl as a story of that special bond.

I've found myself not being able to talk about this ordeal with anyone. I realized that no one, apart from those involved with the film, would truly understand what we're feeling. And talking about it with my castmates, I feel, might be akin to rubbing salt on a still-open wound. My heart goes out to @LeslieGraceand our beloved directors and entire crew & cast who spent months dedicating their all to this endeavor. Leslie checked in on me the day we found out of the shelving and only had words of comfort and support. I've dared not ask since if she's spent nights holding back tears like I have because she has had to be the face of our Batgirl family and has had to put on a brave face as a way of taking care of us the way she gracefully steered our film.

Tonight I finally got to talk with a dear friend here about these intense feelings who shared with me an anecdote which helped provide inspiration for this letter to you. They said the head of a company is like one large cog atop increasingly smaller cogs underneath. One seemingly small movement by this large cog may seem relatively tiny, but for those little cogs at the bottom, they can be spinning ten-fold and the effects can be seismic. I can only endeavor to understand how one feels when tasked with tending to the bottom line like you have. I can't even begin to imagine what one in your position goes through having such great responsibility to attend to. I do know and ask, with something like Batgirl that's a product of our hearts and souls, that the little cogs not simply be seen as widgets whose fates are determined by an equation to benefit the bottom line. More than widgets, we are fellow human beings and artists who, when given the chance, can outperform the equation and multiply the bottom line exponentially.

If a month ago, there wasn't a marketing budget for Batgirl, I'd venture to say that that has been taken care of by the turn of events these past few weeks. We've been fortunate to have such amazing supporters since the beginning, from Glasgow where we filmed and from all over the world. Now, more people know about our labor of love and are eager to see the movie. I do hope you get to read this letter. Consider releasing Batgirl. She's always been an underdog and has nowhere to go but up.

Batgirl: Ivory Aquino Has Joined the Cast as
Ivory Aquino at the Disney/ABC TV TCA Winter 2017 Party at Langham Hotel on January 10, 2017, in Pasadena, CA. Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins /

It's very sweet to see so many people rallying behind this project, but it seems like the ink might be dry when it comes to Batgirl and the other projects lumped into this tax break.

The Batgirl movie had a hard time getting to the big screen, which is saying something considering some of the DC projects that have struggled over the years. It was going to be brought to the big screen by Joss Whedon before it was widely reported that he was a terrible person and promptly left the project. The movie picked up some new directors last year in the form of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, and it was supposed to be the first DC project to make its debut on HBO Max.

Back in July of last year, it was announced that Leslie Grace of In The Heights fame had snagged the coveted role of Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. We got some minor plot details for Batgirl during DC FanDome and a piece of concept art. Jacob Scipio, who was one of the stars of the much better than it had any right to be Bad Boys For Life, joined the cast in an unknown role. J.K. Simmons is also set to return as Commissioner Gordon. We learned that Brandon Fraser would play the villain at the end of October last year. Though we don't know the exact villain, the rumors said it might be Firefly. Production on the movie started at the end of last year, and Batgirl was supposed to release at some point this year.

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Kaitlyn BoothAbout Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on Twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on Instagram.
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