There’s one thing that bothered him, after directing his Lord of the Ringstrilogy, zo told director Peter Jackson to professional magazine this week The Hollywood Reporter. Namely that as a big Tolkien fan he himself could never see and experience the films as blank as his audience. So he hoped he could erase all his memories of the movies and the making process through hypnotherapy. No kidding: he approached the British mentalist Darren Brown, and he saw opportunities.
Unfortunately, the story does not tell why this bizarre plan ultimately fell through. But maybe it’s something for Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi. The Belgian directors were on the red carpet in Cannes a few months ago because of their film Rebel and worked after the great American success of Bad Boys For Life to the DC superhero movie batgirl. ‘On top of the world’, as it is called. Until the phone rang, during El Arbi’s wedding, please note. batgirl, as good as finished, would never appear on the HBO Plus streaming service, they were told. And for the cinema, the film offered too little visual spectacle.
Bizarre waste of money? With a budget of $90 million, batgirl the most expensive canceled movie ever. And yet, according to Warner Bros. auditors, canceling the release was the cheapest option. The studio has just been taken over, the new management wants to release all superhero films in the cinema and this one – made specifically for the streaming service – did not seem suitable for that. Thanks to a tax construction, showing the film nowhere would result in the least loss. Which means that the chance that the film will ever see the light of day is almost gone, no matter how big the #releasebatgirl movement becomes.
If you ever want to talk directors into a depression, ask them about the project that never came. Then there are stories about ideas that no producer was enthusiastic about, or scripts that were rejected. But this must hurt the most: not showing a finished film to anyone. And that for purely financial and business reasons. It’s downright cruel.
So come on in, Darren Brown. Fallah and El Arbi have been awarded it – and if a hacker or unhinged employee does put the film online illegally, they can watch it without heartache.