Movies require a lot from their makers. Time, effort, sweat, blood, and tears; it’s all on the table. Making a movie can take months, and sometimes years, of hard work. It’s not just the actors or directors but the crew, on all production levels, that takes time away from their families and works themselves to exhaustion to make something they hope to share their creation with the world. The intent (for the most part) is not to sit in a locked room, watching the movie they toiled away on, knowing it will never be seen again. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that is happening to the filmmakers behind Batgirl.
If you are not hip to what’s going on with the DC Comics film starring Leslie Grace, Brendan Frasier, and Michael Keaton, our own Brian Richards did a wonderful breakdown when the news hit. In summation, the new CEO at Warner Brothers Discovery, David Zaslav, decided not to release the $90 million movie so the company could get a tax break. In a world where the movie business becomes more and more soulless by the day, this was an especially heinous move. Well, this week the ole WBD took their shittiness to the next level.
As reported by THR, WBD is holding private screenings of Batgirl on their lot for those that worked on the movie. To me, this is like throwing salt on an already gaping wound. What makes it worse is that, of course, the creators will still want to go see it. This was a time of their lives spent making a dream come true. People work for decades just to get to this point. Why wouldn’t they want to view the fruits of their labor? But, at the end of the day, it’s still a hollow gesture on the part of the studio.
Some will argue in the favor of WBD. They’ll point to one of the other reasons cited for shelving the film, that test screenings were poorly received. To that, I politely yet firmly say f*** all the way off for several reasons. First, bad movies, especially ones based on comic books, are released all the time. Some are even released twice. It’s part of the business and, if it is the case with Batgirl, they deserve the same treatment as everyone else.
Second, even if others think Batgirl isn’t up to par, I can guarantee you that no one working on the film set out to make it that way. It reminds me of author Julie Salamon, who spent a year on the set of Bonfire Of the Vanities, a movie notorious for its poor reception both critically and financially. Over the years, if she is asked when she knew it would be a bad movie, she said she didn’t. If you’ve seen the work that goes into even the worst movies, you may feel the same.
Just as no one sets out to make a bad movie, I can almost guarantee that any crew member watching a private screening this week does not see it as bad. They’re more likely to see something they put their whole selves into. Something they cared about. Knowing it will never be seen that way again. That’s a damn shame.