Batgirl: Michael Keaton's Paycheck For Batman Return Reportedly Revealed

With the release of Black Adam this weekend, the future of the DC Films franchise is back on many fans' minds yet again. The series of superhero films are undergoing a lot of evolutions under the tenure of Warner Bros. Discovery — including the controversial cancellation of the studio's Batgirl movie earlier this year. The film, which was originally made for the HBO Max streaming service, has now been shelved entirely — but a new report sheds light on one aspect of the now-cancelled film.

On Friday, a deep dive from The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Michael Keaton received $2 million to appear as Bruce Wayne / Batman in Batgirl, in what the report describes as "a glorified cameo." According to the report, Keaton only participated in a week's worth of work on the film, which had already wrapped production and was in the middle of post-production before being cancelled. 

When will Michael Keaton return as Batman?

Keaton was first confirmed to be returning to the role in the upcoming The Flash movie, which is now set to debut in the summer of 2023. He was subsequently set to appear in Batgirl, as well as a reported cameo in next year's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Shortly after Batgirl's cancellation was announced, it was revealed that Ben Affleck's iteration of Batman will actually be appearing in the Aquaman sequel, seemingly hinting that Keaton's appearance was cut. 

"It seemed like fun," Keaton said of his Batman return in an interview with Variety earlier this year. "I was curious what it would be like after this many years. Not so much me doing it – obviously, some of that – but I was just curious about it, weirdly, socially. This whole thing is gigantic. They have their entirely own world. So, I like to look at it as an outsider, thinking 'Holy moly!'"

Why did the Batgirl movie get cancelled?

Batgirl's cancellation definitely surprised fans, especially as the notion of cancelling an already-completed movie instead of releasing it was somewhat unprecedented. Reports shortly after the news broke indicated that the decision was partially made so Warner Bros. Discovery can take a tax write-down on the film, in an effort to further help pull the company out of significant debt. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav also indicated that the decision was due to a shift away from direct-to-streaming films on HBO Max.

"We've looked hard at the at the direct-to-streaming business," Zaslav explained in a call to investors in August. "We've seen, luckily, by having access now to all the data, how direct-to-streaming movies perform, and our conclusion is that expensive direct-to-streaming movies, in terms of how people are consuming them on the platform, how often people go there or buy it, or buy a service for it, and how it gets nourished over time. It's no comparison to what happens when you launch a film in the theaters. So this idea of expensive films going directly to streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it. We can't find an economic value for it. And so we're making a strategic shift, as part of that." 

What do you think of Michael Keaton's reported salary for Batgirl? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!