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12 films that were axed and never released just like Batgirl

DC fans were left shocked when hotly-anticipated upcoming film Batgirl was axed after production was complete.

The star-studded blockbuster boasted a stellar cast, with In The Heights actress Leslie Grace playing the titular superheroine alongside the likes of Michael Keaton, Brendan Fraser and JK Simmons.

But Warner Bros. has confirmed the film has been dropped and will receive no theatrical or streaming release.

Filming was recently completed on the project and it was officially in post-production, set to drop on streaming service HBO Max later this year.

Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah say they are ‘shocked and saddened’ that their DC Extended Universe flick was axed, but say they are ‘privileged’ to have worked on the film.

Responding to the news shortly after the directors of the film, star Leslie wrote: ‘Querida familia! On the heels of the recent news about our movie “Batgirl,” I am proud of the love, hard work and intention all of our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film over 7 months in Scotland.

The cast and crew of Batgirl have been left shocked and saddened by its sudden cancellation (Picture: Instagram)

‘I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process! To every Batgirl fan – THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, “my own damn hero!”

‘#Batgirl for life!’

The axing of films is not entirely uncommon, even when they have wrapped production.

Various films across the years have been shelved due to disputes between crew members, financial losses, and even tragic accidents.

Here are 12 films like Batgirl that will never see the light of day…

The Fantastic Four

It’s not just DC that has experienced cancelled films.

In 1994, an adaptation of Marvel comic The Fantastic Four was cancelled during post-production.

Directed by Oley Sassone, the superhero flick starred Alex Hyde-White as Reed Richards, Jay Underwood as Johnny Storm, Rebecca Staub as Sue Storm, Michael Bailey Smith as Ben Grimm, and Joseph Culp as Victor Von Doom.

Despite being given a release date of January 19, 1994, and trailers being aired, the premiere was halted, actors were given cease and desist orders, and all copies of the film were confiscated.

Speculation began that the film was never intended for release and was simply made so the studio could retain the rights to The Fantastic Four, something producer Bernd Eichinger denies.

In Shirrel Rhoades’ book Comic Books: How the Industry Works, Eichinger said: ‘No, that’s not true. It was definitely not our intention to make a B-movie, that’s for sure – but when the movie was finished, we wanted to release it.’

He continued that the decision to axe the picture came from Marvel executive Avi Arad because he ‘really didn’t like the idea that a small movie was coming out and maybe ruining the franchise’.

Gore

When Netflix cut ties with Kevin Spacey, it meant scrapping the upcoming biopic Gore.

The streaming giant officially severed ties with Spacey amid allegations of sexual harassment made against the House of Cards series star and executive producer.

Netflix also dropped Gore, a film about the life of American writer Gore Vidal starring Spacey.

The film had been completed, and its axing cost Netflix $39 million (approximately £32 million).

Gods Behaving Badly

Christopher Walken starred as Zeus in Gods Behaving Badly in 2013, which never saw the light of day.

Also featuring the likes of Alicia Silverstone, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Sharon Stone, and John Turturro, filming began in 2011 and it received a premiere at Rome Film Festival.

The film was panned by critics following the first screening and it never received a wider release, with only a few stills and reviews available on the internet.

According to its synopsis, it tells the story of ‘Greek gods living in modern-day New York who intervene in the lives of a young couple.’

My Best Friend’s Birthday

Reservoir Dogs was not meant to be Quentin Tarantino’s first film.

Shot in 1987, comedy film My Best Friend’s Birthday was directed, edited, co-written, co-produced, and starred Quentin Tarantino.

The synopsis of the film reads: ‘It’s Mickey’s birthday, and his girlfriend just left him. His friend Clarence shows up to give him a birthday he’ll never forget.’

However, a film lab fire meant that much of the footage was destroyed – so technically this one wasn’t axed, it was just hit by the worst possible setback.

A 36-minute cut has been shown at several film festivals but a full feature film has never been released.

Number 13

In 1922, Alfred Hitchcock obtained his first shot at directing for Gainsborough Pictures with the film Number 13, though its release was never meant to be.

The plot followed low-income residents of a building, financed by The Peabody Trust, founded by American banker-philanthropist George Foster Peabody, to offer affordable housing to needy Londoners.

It starred Ernest Thesiger and Clare Greet who also helped to finance the production.

However, the film’s budget fell apart, and it was pulled from production after only a handful of scenes were shot.

10 Things I Hate About Life

Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles rom-com classic 10 Things I Hate About You almost received a sequel.

Set to star Evan Rachel Wood, Thomas McDonell, and Billy Campbell, the 1999 film was about two teens who fall in love just as they are about to kill themselves.

Filming began in late 2012 but was interrupted after two months due to management changes at the production company and Wood’s pregnancy.

Production was set to resume in 2013 though filming was delayed indefinitely after Wood’s departure, in which producers sued her for $30 million (approximately £25 million) for breach of contract.

The lawsuit is ongoing and the film is seen as unlikely to ever resume shooting.

The Day The Clown Cried

The Day The Clown Cried was abandoned due to the controversy that surrounded it.

Set in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War, the film followed Helmut Doork, a poor German clown that finds himself stationed in Auschwitz, where he is handed the job of leading Jewish children to their deaths in the gas chambers.

Directed by and starring Jerry Lewis, the 1972 Swedish-French drama was never released due to its sensitive subject matter.

Lewis eventually donated an incomplete copy of the film to the Library of Congress in 2015 under the stipulation that it was not to be screened before June 2024.

Superman Lives

The Tim Burton-directed Superman Lives began production in the late 1990s but was ultimately given the chop.

It was inspired by 1992 comic book The Death of Superman and was set to star Nicolas Cage as the titular character.

The picture was ultimately stopped as Warner Bros. could not afford the monetary risk of producing it following the financial losses and bad reviews of films such as Batman & Robin, One Eight Seven, The Postman, Sphere, Fire Down Below, and Steel.

However, British playwright Jonathan Gems claims the cancellation of the Superman Lives followed the frosty reception of Burton’s 1996 feature Mars Attacks!

He told Inverse: ‘They punished Tim. He had this wonderful project, with Nicolas Cage going to play Superman.

‘The script was absolutely brilliant. They had incredible ideas for it. And then Warner Brothers dumped it and never gave a reason.’

Who Killed Bambi?

FX series Pistol has been a hit with fans of iconic punk band The Sex Pistols, but back in 1978, there was set to be a film about the quartet.

Who Killed Bambi? was due to be released in 1978 with Russ Meyer and then Jonathan Kaplan due to direct.

The film was based on a script by Roger Ebert and Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren.

Reasons for its cancellation have been disputed, with Meyer claiming that Grace Kelly, an important stockholder at Fox at the time, led to production halting.

McLaren said Fox pulled out after reading the screenplay, but Ebert claims a lack of finances led to its downfall.

Napoleon

Famed for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange, Napoleon was set to be another large motion picture from auteur Stanley Kubrick.

It followed the success of 2001 and the biopic would have told the story of Napoleon Bonaparte.

In a conversation with the British Film Institute, Kubrick’s brother-in-law Jan Harlan stated the film was set to enter production with David Hemmings as the title figure Napoleon, a role which later went to Jack Nicholson, and Kubrick wanted Audrey Hepburn for the character Josephine.

However, Napoleon was eventually canceled due to the cost of location filming, the release of Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic War and Peace, and the commercial failure of Bondarchuk’s Napoleon-themed film Waterloo.

Broadway Brawler

Disputes during the production of films are not uncommon, but this one led to an entire film being scrapped.

Broadway Brawler, directed by Lee Grant, was produced by and starred Bruce Willis alongside Maura Tierney, Daniel Baldwin, and Jenifer Lewis.

The plot was about a retired professional ice hockey player who starts up a relationship with a character played by Maura Tierney.

After two years of pre-production were complete, as well as 20 days of principal photography, the production was halted owing to the acrimonious environment on set.

Willis was dissatisfied with the performance of multiple members of the crew who all ended up terminated from the picture.

Director Dennis Dugan was brought onto the project, but production folded before Dugan would be able to shoot any scenes

I, Claudius

I, Claudius is the epic that never was due to a tragic set of circumstances.

The 1937 film adaptation of the novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves.

It starred Charles Laughton in the title role and was directed by Josef Von Sternberg.

The production faced a number of problems, culminating in a car accident involving co-star Merle Oberon that caused filming to cease indefinitely.

Footage from the production was incorporated into a 1965 documentary on the making of the film The Epic That Never Was.


Credit: Source

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