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Despite $90m being spent and a release date being planned for the end of this year, this week Hollywood was rattled when Warner Bros announced that the highly- anticipated Batgirl film – planned for HBO Max – was being shelved.
Batgirl, a ‘woke’, big-budget film featuring a female version of the iconic superhero, was branded ‘irredeemable’, despite being completely finished.
Feedback at test screenings was so awful that it was canned, making it perhaps the most expensive film ever made that will never see the light of day, although it’s by no means the only big budget production never to make it on to screens.
It joins a graveyard of movies which were awkwardly shelved, including a Louis C.K. directed film about seducing a 17-year-old, a 3D mermaid fantasy, and a spy thriller starring Michael Flatley; of Lord of the Dance fame.
Yesterday Hollywood was rattled when Warner Bros announced that the highly anticipated Batgirl flick – a $90m movie planned for HBO Max – was being shelved
The studio attributed the axing of the nearly completed feature to ‘leadership’s strategic shift’, insisting the choice was not made due to the ‘incredibly talented’ In the Heights star Leslie Grace.
However, critics have claimed that the film’s eagerness to be ‘woke’ was to blame.
With a screenplay by Christina Hodson – who wrote the Harley Quinn-focused Birds Of Prey – some have claimed the film put its ‘progressive’ values ahead of all other concerns.
According to Cosmic Book News, those who got to see the film were let down by costumes and Hollywood Michael Keaton’s lack of screen time.
Pop culture site Scallywag and Vagabond added:’…The fact that superhero films have a fanatically loyal audience, it all represents a jaw-dropping failure.’
Here, Femail reveals the other films that have gone down in movie history in the worst possible way after being shelved before making on to the big screen.
Scoob!: Holiday Haunt
The nearly finished Scoob! sequel’s fate was announced in the same breath as Batgirl’s axing
The nearly finished Scoob! sequel’s fate was announced in the same breath as Batgirl’s axing, although the exact reasons weren’t made clear.
The animated feature would have detailed the events following 2020’s Scoob! in a multiverse setting.
Yesterday co-directors Bill Haller and Michael Kurinsky took to social media to voice their thoughts on the choice.
Bill tweeted: ‘Despite happenings at WB, Im gonna brag about Scoob Holiday Haunt.
‘I approved the last shot of animation last week & I can’t wait for all the fans to see the amazing performances from this passion project which I know will make you very happy.’
‘Thank you to all the Scooby Doo fans out there. It means everything to me. Let’s get the word out,’ Michael added.
Tony Cervone, who directed the first Scoob! film added to the disappoinment at the axing of the sequel.
Taking to Instagram he wrote: ‘The movie is practically finished and turned out beautifully. I am beyond heartbroken.’
The film was set to star 14-year-old Iain Armitage, known for his role in Young Sheldon, as Shaggy.
Tweeting after the film’s cancellation was announced, the teen actor wrote: ‘I’m very sorry to share this sad news. I LOVED working on this, and just did another session as Young Shaggy last week and the film looked just about complete.’
While no official reason for the decision to shelve Scoob! Holiday Haunt has been given, people involved with production have been left guessing.
The film’s co-writer Paul Dini told a fan on Twitter that the movie was ‘95% complete’ at the time the decision was made.
He added a cut of the film being tested with audiences had gone down well, and argued it made ‘no business sense’ to axe what could have been a blockbuster.
I Love you, Daddy
C.K.’s role was that of China’s father. A star-studded cast also included Rose Byrne, Charlie Day and Helen Hunt
I Love You Daddy was written and directed by Louis C.K and featured an older director – portrayed by John Malkovich – seducing a much younger woman called China played by Chloë Grace Moretz.
C.K. also starred in the film as China’s father in the comedy-drama, a television writer and producer who was unnerved by his 17-year-old daughter’s relationship with the older director.
The star-studded cast included Rose Byrne, Charlie Day and Helen Hunt.
However, the film was pulled from release just hours before the stars were to hit the red carpet for it’s U.S. premiere in November 2017, following a New York Times story that detailed disturbing reports of multiple sexual misconduct allegations against C.K.
He quickly disappeared from both the small and big screens after five women came forward to accuse the actor and comedian of masturbating in front of them or over the phone.
HBO had announced that they would be cutting C.K. from their ‘Night of Too Many Stars’ special when the autism benefit airs on the network November 18.
It was also announced that I Love You Daddy would not be arriving in theaters.
The Orchard, who purchased the distribution rights to the film for $5 million after its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival said in a statement: ‘The Orchard will not be moving forward with the release of ‘I Love You, Daddy.”
Even the star of the film said that she didn’t want to see it released.
‘I think it should just kind of go away, honestly. I don’t think it’s time for them to have a voice right now,’ Chloe Grace Moretz said in an interview with The New York Times, referring to men accused of sexual harassment.
‘Of course, it’s devastating to put time into a project and have it disappear,’ she added, ‘But at the same time, this movement is so powerful and so progressive that I’m just happy to be in communication with everyone and to see the big change in the face of the industry, which I think is very, very real.’
Empires of the Deep
An action-fueled 3D movie featuring the adventures of mermaids – embroiled in a fantastical plot including a Demon Mage and merman knights – still has yet to see a theatrical release.
Work on the film – a Chinese-American co-production – began in 2009 after the project was bankrolled by Chinese billionaire Jon Jiang, who also wrote the script.
It is the most expensive film ever to come out of China and was conceived as a spectacular epic to rival Avatar.
The lead role originally went to Italian actress Monica Bellucci, only for her to pull out and be replaced by Bond girl Olga Kurylenko.
Similar problems dogged finding a suitable director. The Empire Strikes Back’s Irvin Kershner, who died in 2010, was at one point linked to the project as was Catwoman director Pitof.
Instead, Michael French, who directed 2008’s low budget Heart Of The Dragon, saw the film through to competition.
In 2012, instead of being seen as the £130million masterpiece its makers intended, the film’s U.S. trailer prompted scathing response from critics, who poured scorn on its ‘woefully’ amateur special effects.
Kristy Puchko, writing on CinemaBlend.com, commented that its ‘live action scenes seem as low-budget as TV’s Xena: Warrior Princess, and computer graphics that look like a video game from the early 2000s.’
Jack Cunliffe at TheFilmStage.com wrote: ‘After some quick banter with actual humans (or possibly mermaids), we get a minute onslaught of some of the worst, potentially insanely entertaining footage of this disaster.’
Referring to this difficult gestation period, website Twitch headlined its scathing article: ‘Three years and $130million later, all we get is Olga Kurylenko with a shell on her head’.
The Day the Clown Cried
It is perhaps not too surprising that this 1972 film about a circus clown who is imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp has yet to see the light of day
It is perhaps not too surprising that this 1972 film about a circus clown imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp has yet to see the light of day.
The plot follows washed-up circus clown Helmut Doork who was once in high demand and toured the world, but found himself with no work at the beginning of World War II.
After finding himself ousted from his circus troupe, Doork gets drunk and begins ranting about Adolf Hitler, which sees him arrested by the Gestapo.
Doork is interrogated by the Gestapo who imprison him in a Nazi camp for three years, during which time he hopes he will get a chance to argue his case.
While in the camp and exiled by other prisoners who mock him, Doork ends up performing for Jewish children, who are being kept separate from other prisonerss.
However he ends up being used by the guards to lead Jewish children to their deaths in the gas chambers.
The enormously controversial storyline led to the film ultimately being axed, but questions about the plot plagued its star, Jerry Lewis, right up until he passed away in 2017.
Film critic Jean-Michel Frodon, who is one of the only people to have seen a print of the film, told Vanity Fair: ‘It’s a very bizarre project. [Lewis is] not indulging himself, but he is self-caricaturing.’
The movie, which Lewis also directed, remains unfinished, and the American comedian’s son has claimed no complete negative of the film exists.
However in 2015, Lewis donated an incomplete copy of the film to the Library of Congress, under the stipulation it would not be screened before June 2024.
According to a 2018 New York Times article, although copyright battles and mixed criticisms exist, there is still a curiosity and appetite to see the work on screens.
This movie’s title does what it says on the tin and lets viewers know they are about to watch a movie following a genetic cross between a cobra and an alligator
This movie’s title does what it says on the tin and lets viewers know they are about to watch a movie following a genetic cross between a cobra and an alligator.
The movie follows a hectic rampage taken on by the genetically spliced hybrid.
Not much information appears available on why the move is unreleased.
In a 2014 interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, director Jim Wynorski described the plot as being about ‘a Southern redneck who is still mad at the North so he stole some genomes from a lab and he created a Cobragator to get his revenge’.
The movie is thought to have taken just 14 days to film in 2014 at Caverns State Park in Florida.
Although the film was never released in full, the production company did produce a trailer.
In 2014 USA Today went behind the scenes on the set of the film, which had largely been filmed within caves in the park.
Reporter Mark Hinson wasn’t able to determine the exact plot of the film, but he did reveal that at some point the CobraGator ‘attacks and devours’ one of the main characters.
He added that filming had to be paused when a tour group was led through the cave.
Wynorski was filmed chatting to the tourists and promoting his project as they wandered through the cave – but sadly, they never got to see the finished product.
Michael Flatley directed, wrote and stars in this thrilling espionage flick – which premiered in 2018 and then mysteriously ‘vanished’
Michael Flatley directed, wrote, self-financed and stars in this thrilling espionage flick – which premiered in 2018 and then mysteriously ‘vanished’.
However, the premiere itself at the Raindance Festival was questioned as it shut out journalists and did not seem to produce any fan reaction whatsoever, leading many to wonder if anyone at all had seen the flick.
Despite not being released yet, Flatley somehow managed to bag himself the best actor accolade for his performance in Blackbird at last year’s Monaco film festival.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the ‘mythical’ feature has now finally got a release date for September 2022.
An excitingly elusive IMDb plot summary reads: ‘Troubled secret agent “Blackbird” abruptly retires from service and opens a luxurious nightclub in the Caribbean to escape the dark shadows of his past.
‘An old flame arrives and reignites love in his life but she brings danger with her.’
Flatley himself confirmed the release date in a statement on Twitter last month.
Blaming the Covid pandemic, he said there were several delays to production of the film and promised Irish fans they would have the first chance to see the film in cinemas.
The Irish-American dancer said: ‘We’ve all put a lot into this project, and for me it’s very personal.’
Flatley’s co-stars in the film are largely unknown, but film buffs will spot an appearance from Eric Roberts, brother of Julia.
Hippie Hippie Shake
Hippie Hippie Shake is based on the memoirs of Australian editor Richard Neville – who worked on the satirical magazine Oz
Hippie Hippie Shake is based on the memoirs of Australian editor Richard Neville – who worked on the satirical magazine Oz.
Despite a cast of industry heavyweights – including Cillian Murphy, Sienna Miller, Sean Biggerstaff and Max Minghella – the movie remain unreleased.
An article by Whynow suggests that issues around the portrayal of real individuals halted progression, as did other production issues.
Originally picked up by British production company Working Title in 1998, the film was subject to a series of delays and was passed around between different directors and screenwriters.
In September 2007 the film finally began shooting, with writer Richard Neville optimistic about its future.
He said: ‘Given that the world is at war, it couldn’t be better timing to highlight the crazy, fun and political times of the 1960s… I think the timing is pretty terrific.’
With big names behind the movie, including director Beeban Kidron, who also directed Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, there were high hopes.
However, four years later in 2011, Working Title confirmed it would not be released.
Back in 2017, 10 years after it began filming, Sienna Miller said she didn’t think Hippie Hippie Shake would ever see the light of day.
She told Yahoo! Movies: ‘I’m not sure whatever happened with that. I don’t think it’s… I don’t think we’ll see it at this point.
‘I never really heard what happened. I did see a rough cut of it and it was a pretty beautiful film, but there was some legal something or other. I don’t know.’
10 Things I Hate About Life
The rom-com, starring Evan Rachel Wood, has never been released following delays and even a lawsuit
Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thomas McDonell and Billy Campbell, this unorthodox romantic comedy has a dark premise.
A teenage boy and girl, who are both planning to take their own lives, end up falling in love.
Filming for the movie began in 2012 but was interrupted just two months later when Wood fell pregnant.
There were also management changes in the production company, which is thought to be the main reason filming was stalled.
By the time production halted, there was enough footage for the production company to release a promotional trailer, but little progress was made on the film itself.
In November 2013 it was announced that filming would resume and by the following year around 30 minutes had been completed.
However, tensions arose when, in 2014, producers of the film sued Evan Rachel Wood for allegedly refusing to return to filming, Variety reported.
The actress’s lawyers dismissed the lawsuit as ‘preposterous’ and the lawsuit is thought to remain unresolved.
Meanwhile, there is still no word on the fate of the rom-com – but fans probably shouldn’t hold their breath.