The eagerly-anticipated Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) isn’t due in theaters until early next year, but it sounds like the upcoming DC film may have hit a bit of a snag, at least in terms to how it’s being received. Test screenings of Birds of Prey reportedly has audiences and Warner Bros. executives split in their thoughts about the film.
On Twitter, Screen Rant’s Stephen M. Colbert noted on Saturday that the audience test screening of the Margot Robbie-starring film had people “raving about it” but the same could not be said for the internal Warner Bros. test screenings. Apparently, the executives had the exact opposite reaction to the film.
The split in reception to Birds of Prey is concerning for fans, as evidenced by the responses to Colbert’s tweet. Many have chimed in that, if Warner Bros. gets heavily involved and attempts to change Birds of Prey, it could be another in a line of incidents in which they appear to self-sabotage their superhero films by demanding changes. For some that brings up Justice League which saw director Zack Snyder depart the film and replaced by Joss Whedon, who made changes to the film with extensive reshoots.
However, in the case of Birds of Prey, the studio may choose to take a lighter-handed approach, potentially due to the involvement of Robbie. Robbie has been deeply involved with Birds of Prey far beyond her starring role as Harley Quinn. Robbie is also a producer on the film, originally pitching it to Warner Bros. back in 2015 as an R-rated girl gang film.
“I pitched the idea of an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, ‘Harley needs friends.’ Harley loves interacting with people, so don’t ever make her do a standalone film,” Robbie said in a previous interview. “She’s got to be with other people, it should be a girl gang. I wasn’t seeing enough girl gangs on screen, especially in the action space. So that was always a big part of it.”
An off-beat, fun approach also appears to be a big part of Birds of Prey. In a recent interview Cassandra Cain actress Ella Jay Basco was asked what her most memorable experience on the film’s set was, and she revealed it was an improvised scene.
“We had this one scene where Margot [Robbie], Jurnee [Smollett-Bell], Rosie [Perez], Mary [Elizabeth Winstead] and I had to improv the majority of it,” Basco said. “That entire day we were laughing, making jokes, and having a great time. The director, Cathy Yan, told us to do a bunch of silly things that made us smile the whole day. The location was also near a Shake Shack, so in our spare time we just ate burgers, fries, and a bunch of other junk food. That day was super fun and didn’t feel like work at all.”
Upcoming DC movies include Joker on October 10th, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.
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