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Batgirl Early Screening Reactions Reportedly Weren’t That Bad

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A new report suggests that, contrary to rumors, Batgirl was not cancelled for being low-quality, and it received a similar test score to Shazam 2.

The early Batgirl test screenings were not that bad, according to a new report. Warner Bros. Discovery shocked the entertainment world with the announcement they were completely shelving Batgirl, despite the movie having completed filming and spent approximately $90 million already. It was set to star Leslie Grace (In the Heights) in the title role and also featured Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly and Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman.

Quickly following the film’s cancellation, rumors started to circulate about why Warner Bros. Discovery would scrap a film they had already shot. Warner Bros. released a statement saying the movie just did not fit the new direction the studio is taking with DCEU films, and reports following the cancellation suggested the movie was considered a small-scale story not fit for theaters, but also too expensive for streaming on HBO Max. Despite this, there began rumors that the movie was cancelled due to the quality, as Warner Bros. didn’t want to release the film and risk harming the DCEU brand.

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Related: Keaton’s Batman Future In The DCEU Is Looking Really Bad Now

However, it appears that was not the case, and the negative reaction Batgirl supposedly received in test screenings might have been exaggerated. In a report from THR following the cancellation of Batgirl, they point out that the studio did test one cut of Batgirl for an audience without completed VFX work and a temp score. The movie reportedly tested in the 60s, which while not a glowing score, was also the same that It tested in 2017 – and that film eventually went on to gross $701 million worldwide.

It is also worth noting that Batgirl tested the same as Shazam! Fury of the Gods, according to the same report, which Warner Bros. has not cancelled and is still set to release in theaters. It also ignores the fact that Warner Bros. Discovery also scrapped Scoob! Holiday Haunt, which was reportedly very close to completion. The fact that two HBO Max original movies were shelved indicates the reason has less to do with each film’s quality and more to do with the studio’s new prioritization of theatrical distribution, and how much they are now willing to spend on streaming material.

Even if Batgirl‘s test was poor, a superhero movie being low-quality has not stopped studios from releasing them in the past. Warner Bros. has a history of releasing DC superhero movies such as Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, and 2016’s Suicide Squad, all of which were savaged by critics. Sony Pictures released Morbius twice in theaters, and that film received some of the worst reviews for any superhero movie released in the past twenty years. In a world where 2015’s Fantastic Four and New Mutants can find release in theaters, it feels hard to believe that Batgirl deserves to be kept forever on the shelf.


Source: THR

  • Black Adam (2022)Release date: Oct 21, 2022
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2022)Release date: Dec 21, 2022
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)Release date: Mar 17, 2023
  • The Flash (2023)Release date: Jun 23, 2023
  • Blue Beetle (2023)Release date: Aug 18, 2023




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Doctor Sleep Director On Stephen King’s Initial Response To Kubrick Ties

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Despite knowing of his strong distaste for the prior adaptation, Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan pitched ties to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining to Stephen King, and it nearly didn’t work. The 2019 horror drama acted as an adaptation of King’s novel of the same name, itself a sequel to his Shining novel, and centered on an adult Danny Torrance struggling with his sobriety and having to tap back into his abilities to help fellow shiner Abra as a cult of vampiric shiners known as the True Knot hunt her down. With Ewan McGregor leading the cast of Doctor Sleep as Danny, the film hit theaters in late 2019 to largely favorable reviews from critics and audiences alike, though was considered to be an under performer at the box office, bringing in over $72 million against its reported $55 million production budget.

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In a recent post on his Tumblr, Mike Flanagan reflected on his experience making Doctor Sleep. While discussing the creative process, the writer/director recalled Stephen King’s initial response to his pitch about including ties to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, with the filmmaker having to craft a clear proposal in order to convince the prolific horror author. See Flanagan’s explanation below:

I put together a proposal that outlined what I wanted to do – use Kubrick’s visual language, and keep the Overlook standing as a setting for the final battle. The initial feedback we got was “no.” King really, really didn’t like Kubrick’s film, and his priority was to adapt DOCTOR SLEEP – not to revisit THE SHINING.I told him that if he didn’t want me to do it, I wouldn’t – I’d walk away from the movie before I made something he hated. But as a last ditch effort, I said “imagine the Overlook, decrepit and rotten. And imagine Dan Torrance having walk in to ‘wake it up,’ the lights coming on above his head as he walks the halls. He finds his way to the Gold Room. To the familiar bar, where an empty glass is waiting for him. And we see a familiar bartender ready to pour for him, saying ‘good evening Mister Torrance.’ What if that bartender is his father?” After a bit of a delay, King got back to us. “Do it,” he said.

Related: Mike Flanagan’s Cancelled Shining Prequel Proves The Franchise Is Dead


How Flanagan Merged King & Kubrick’s Shining Universes

Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep

King has notoriously shared his frustrations with Kubrick’s The Shining movie in the 40-plus years since it came out, primarily criticizing its deviations from his source novel and the shift from supernatural threats to a human one. Considering Warner Bros. were behind both the Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall-led film and Doctor Sleep, it’s understandable why the studio would be keen to tap into Kubrick’s adaptation to draw audiences back in, even if it went against King’s vision. However, many are sure to find it both unenviable and commendable that Flanagan took it upon himself to merge the disparate storylines into one connective thread.

The biggest connection shared between Kubrick’s The Shining, both of King’s novels and Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep was the Overlook Hotel, the terrifying location the first story was set in, which was burned to the ground in the original King novel by Jack in an effort to sacrifice himself to save his family. With Kubrick’s film seeing Danny and Wendy escape Jack and the hotel, itself left standing, it could’ve been difficult for some audiences to grapple with the Overlook suddenly being an open field for the climactic final showdown between Danny and Rose. However, not only did Flanagan bring the Overlook back for his Doctor Sleep finale, he also gave Danny his father’s ending, burning down the hotel to save Abra and attempt to put an end to its terror.

It’s a decision that was not only largely welcomed by audiences, but received praise from King himself, who found that Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep redeemed” everything he disliked about Kubrick’s The Shining. Though it’s sure to be understandable for King fans that the author would initially turn down the idea to include ties to Kubrick’s adaptation, Flanagan’s dedication to his vision aligning with King’s clearly paid out in his favor. Audiences can revisit the merging of both world with Doctor Sleep available to stream on HBO Max now.

Source: Mike Flanagan/Tumblr

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Antonio Banderas Wants A New Zorro Movie Co-Starring Tom Holland

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Antonio Banderas reveals he wants a new Zorro movie co-starring Tom Holland, wanting to pass on the torch of the action hero to his Uncharted costar.


While three TV adaptations remain in development for the character, Antonio Banderas shares his idea for a new Zorro movie co-starring Tom Holland. Originally created by pulp magazine writer Johnston McCulley, Zorro is a masked vigilante best known for helping defend the people of his hometown of the Pueblo of Los Angeles from a variety of greedy businessman and corrupt political leaders. Though portrayed by a variety of people on both the big and small screens, Banderas’ portrayal of Zorro in both The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro remains one of his most iconic roles and incarnations, leaving some to wonder who could take on the mantle after him.

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In a recent interview with ComicBook.com to discuss the upcoming Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Antonio Banderas was asked his thoughts on returning for a new Zorro movie. Not only did the actor confirm his interest in being in another installment, but he also expressed an interest to set up a new actor in the role, naming Tom Holland as his ideal successor. See what Banderas shared below:

Yes, I would. I would consider that possibility. Why not? I think during today’s interviews I said something like that to somebody… I said that if they call it Zorro, I will do what Anthony Hopkins did in the first movie and so give the torch to somebody else. Tom Holland. I did Uncharted with him, and he’s so energetic and fun, and he’s got this spark, too. Why not?

Related: Why Hollywood Hasn’t Made A Real Zorro Movie In 80 Years


Could Holland Work As The Next Zorro?

Tom Holland standing behind a bar in Uncharted

Considering Banderas has experience working with Holland on the Uncharted movie, and his own past in the franchise, he does have a fairly informed perspective on who he feels could take over the mantle of Zorro in the future. With Holland having shown his physical skills with both the Spider-Man trilogy and adaptation of Naughty Dog’s action video games, he would be a perfect fit for the physicality required of the sword-wielding vigilante. Additionally, with the actor already situated as a household name, his attachment to a new Zorro movie could help establish some anticipation among audiences to convince Sony, the studio behind Banderas’ movies, to produce such a project.

The biggest concern some audiences may hold about the possibility of a new Zorro movie with Banderas passing on the torch to Holland is the importance of the character’s ethnicity. The hero’s secret identity is that of Don Diego de la Vega, and though Anthony Hopkins portrayed de la Vega in The Mask of Zorro, Banderas’ Alejandro Murrieta carrying on the mantle proved to be a very positive step forward in Latin representation on screen, delivering an authentic representation for Zorro that younger audiences could look up to. Though it could be explained in a new Zorro movie that Holland’s successor is a white character Alejandro passes the torch on to, the concern then becomes about turning the story into one of a white savior, a route that has similarly been minimized in film in recent years.

Even if Antonio Banderas’ idea for a new Zorro movie co-starring Tom Holland doesn’t come to fruition, it isn’t the end of the character’s future on screen. Wilmer Valderrama is currently working with Disney+ to develop a reimagining of the property through a “modern telenovela” lens, while The CW acquired the rights to a modern-day Zorro series centered on a female incarnation of the hero from executive producers Robert Rodriguez and Sofia Vergara, and Prime Video is similarly putting together a 10-episode modern-day series with Money Heist director Javier Quintas and Miguel Ángel Vivas at the helm. In the meantime, audiences can revisit Banderas’ Zorro movies streaming on Netflix now.

Source: ComicBook.com

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Why The Empire Doesn’t Shoot The Escape Pod In Star Wars

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If the Imperials had blown up C-3PO and R2-D2’s escape pod at the beginning of A New Hope, the entire Star Wars franchise would have ended.


At the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope C-3PO and R2-D2 escape the Tantive IV in an escape pod—which the Imperials choose not to blow up. R2-D2’s importance as a character can’t be stated enough. Had they taken the shot and destroyed the pod and R2, the entirety of the movie—and the entirety of the franchise—would cease to be. In the crucial seconds while the escape pod was still in range, two officers aboard Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer banter about whether to fire on it, but ultimately decide to let it go.

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The Imperials don’t shoot down the escape pod because they need to save energy. They’re also not allowed to fire needlessly. Fuel and energy—though often not talked about enough in Star Wars—are important commodities that cannot be wasted. Not only does the novelization mention this, but Andor shows how uptight the Empire is and how the Imperial officers are strictly trained not to waste anything. After scanning and finding that there are no lifeforms present in the escape pod, they make a judgment call and decide not to fire.

Related: Disney Star Wars Has Perfected George Lucas’ Original Imperial Vision


The Imperial Not Shooting The Escape Pod Makes Sense

Star Wars Escape Pod Tatooine

Since the Imperial’s main concern was finding the plans for the Death Star, they interrogated the rebels on board the Tantive IV. Their first thought when they saw escape pods launching was that there were rebels attempting to escape. But because the escape pod had no lifeforms in it, they let it go. It was only when Darth Vader was informed that he assumed the plans had to have been on board. It’s unknown what happened to the two officers who made the call; it’s possible they were demoted or worse for making such a grievous mistake—despite their initial logic being sound.

As a child, Leia was similar to Anakin in that they both loved droids. Obi-Wan Kenobi showed that Leia grew up with a droid she affectionately nicknamed Lola. This love of droids allowed her to think outside the box when it came to hiding the Death Star plans, in that she trusted R2-D2 enough to safely deliver them to an ally. There are plenty of Imperials who do not trust droids to do any important work, which is why Leia used what they least expected against them.

Princess Leia Trusting Droids Was A Masterstroke

Leia giving R2D2 the Death Star Plans in Star Wars

After C-3PO and R2-D2’s pod is launched, one of the Imperial technicians comments that it’s “another one.” This insinuates that more have launched before, possibly with rebels attempting to escape. Unlike Leia, who was only stunned, the rebels who attempted to escape in the pods were likely blasted before ever reaching Tatooine. Leia made a genius gamble in hoping that the Imperials would ignore the escape pod without lifeforms—a gamble that all of A New Hope hung on.

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