Batgirl Cancelled: 5 blockbuster films that were cancelled in production - including the controversial The Day the Clown Cried

It’s not just Batgirl that has been shelved.note-0
Stanley Kubrick, Nicolas Cage and Quentin Tarantino have all starred or made films that were left on the cutting room floor. Credit: Getty ImagesStanley Kubrick, Nicolas Cage and Quentin Tarantino have all starred or made films that were left on the cutting room floor. Credit: Getty Images
Stanley Kubrick, Nicolas Cage and Quentin Tarantino have all starred or made films that were left on the cutting room floor. Credit: Getty Images

With big screen budgets, next generation special effects and the demands of A-list actors, cancelling a film while still in production is a rare occurrence in Tinseltown.

Despite that, the latest Warner Brothers blockbuster Batgirl has been abandoned just months before its launch in cinemas worldwide, much to the surprise of film fans.

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Filmed almost entirely in Scotland, the latest film in the DC Comic world was set to star some of Hollywood’s biggest hitters, with Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons confirmed to star alongside Leslie Grace in the leading role.

However, despite a theatrical release scheduled for late 2022, the production company has shelved the movie and placed it on the cutting room floor.

Rumours of the reasons for scrapping the film include a poor audience reaction at early test screenings, combined with reports the film “didn’t fit” the look of the increasingly popular DC franchise.

And while the cancellation will come as a surprise, it certainly isn’t the first highly anticipated Hollywood hit to be thrown in the bin.

Here we look at nine movies that film fans never had the chance to see after they were cancelled, or abandoned mid-production.

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Number 13 – Alfred Hitchcock

An icon in cinema thanks to his work on classic horrors such as The Birds and Psycho, the name Alfred Hitchcock will forever be etched in cinematic history.

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However, what direction would his career have gone in had we seen ‘Number 13’, widely known as Alfred Hitchcock’s “missing movie”?

Sometimes referred to as ‘Mrs Peabody’, the plot centred on a pair of low-income residents of a building who were financed by an American banker-philanthropist known as George Foster Peabody, who offered affordable housing to needy Londoners.

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Though little else is known of the story due to Hitchcock remained tip-lipped about ‘Number 13’, aside from telling his biographer the film was a "somewhat chastening experience".

Sadly, the film's budget fell apart early on, and it was pulled from production after only a handful of scenes were shot, never to be seen again.

My Best Friend's Birthday – Quentin Tarantino

Think you have seen all the Tarantino movies the world has to offer? Think again.

Before Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, the iconic American director tried his hand at filming his debut film on a budget of just $5,000.

The soon-to-be legend enlisted pals from his acting classes and combined them with colleagues from the rental video store he worked at (including Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary) and set about directing his first movie.

Sadly for film fans, at the start of the editing process, there was a lab fire that destroyed a big portion of the film, leaving just 36 minutes of footage.

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Unlike Hitchcock, the 59-year-old has spoken openly about his unmade film, admitting that it could be restored one day and released.

The Day the Clown Cried – Jerry Lewis

Unlike the above movies, this would-be film was cancelled and abandoned due to the controversy that surrounded it.

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Set in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War, The Day the Clown Cried focused on 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.

Controversial in the 1970s, the film would likely still provoke debate in this day and age given the obvious sensitive subject matter.

With director Lewis more famous for popular comedies films such as The Nutty Professor, it is unknown exactly what his plans were when it came to The Day the Clown Cried. However, he did vow the film would never see the light of day shortly before his death in 2017.

Superman Lives – Tim Burton

Quite how far down the line the Beetlejuice director got with his Superman adaptation is anyone’s guess – though photos of the cult-figure Nicolas Cage in full superhero get-up, complete with glorious long flowing hair, do exist on the internet (just Google it).

Originally planned for release in the mid-1990s, it was due to be directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters. The plot is said to have featured three villains in the shape of Brainiac, Lex Luthor and Doomsday.

Sadly, its cancellation was in part down to the poor performance of Burton’s sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks. Now viewed as a Burton classic, it had a lukewarm reception from cinema-goers and reportedly meant the studio pulled plans for Superman Lives.

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However, to be quite frank, it sounds amazing and we can’t believe it wasn’t made.

Napoleon – Stanley Kubrick

One of cinema’s most loved directors, many say Kubrick was the greatest director of all time. And this writer might just agree.

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Such was the genius of the American filmmaker, his creative mind rarely stopped, meaning there are some unrealised projects that were sadly lost in the filmmaker’s vault, with his planned large-scale biographical film on French military leader and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte top of the list.

In fact, Kubrick even went as far as to pen a preliminary screenplay, and had cast Hollywood A-listers Jack Nicholson in the lead role alongside Audrey Hepburn.

Making a card catalogue of the places and deeds of Napoleon's inner circle, he also scouted various locations, which included plans to film battle scenes in Romania.

Shelved due to a combination of prohibitive cost of location filming, the adaption of Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace and Bondarchuk's Napoleon-themed flop Waterloo, Napoleon sadly never saw the light of day.

However, it is reported Kubrick had expected to create "the best movie ever made”.

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