RUMOR ALERT: This information is based on unsubstantiated RUMORS so take it with a large grain of salt!
Reportedly, a first cut of ‘Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)’ has been completed and screened for a test audience and executives at Warner Bros. and the reaction is said to be split. Screen Rant’s Stephen M. Colbert reported (via Twitter) that the test screening audience was “raving about it” but that the execs at WB hate it.
So the audience test screening for Birds of Prey had people raving about it and the internal WB test screening seemingly had the opposite effect. So basically all I needed to be reassured. Hopefully Robbie can keep their hands off of it.
— ☕Stephen M. Colbert (@smcolbert) July 13, 2019
I always take “test screening” reactions as… not just rumor, but total B.S., but studios do hold test screenings, so it’s possible this actually took place. Test screenings are not conducted with a movie’s core fanbase, but with a wide variety of people, who are usually approached at a mall or other public area. They don’t know what it is until it starts. It would make sense for a gathering of comic book or superhero movie fans to rave about a film like ‘Birds of Prey’, but this would have been a cross-section of the population. Of course, it is possible that this mixed audience saw it and loved it, but again, take it with a grain of salt.
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WB test screened two different versions of Margot Robbie‘s previous DC movie, ‘Suicide Squad’– one edit overseen by director David Ayer, which was reportedly darker, and one that was assembled without Ayer’s involvement, which was said to be lighter in tone. WB used the information from these two screenings, then had Ayer recut the movie into the final cinematic version, mixing elements that audiences liked about both cuts.
Unfortunately, the Frankenstein theatrical cut was a mixed bag. Critics hated it, but audiences were more forgiving. Even so, it wasn’t a smash hit at the box office, but it wasn’t a flop either.
Now IF these test screening results are true, WB might pull the same thing with ‘Birds of Prey’, forcing director Cathy Yan to recut the movie to their tastes, possibly requiring extensive reshoots. Even though the very mention of “reshoots” seems to terrify fans, almost every movie requires them. There is nothing wrong with reshoots in general. Just how extensively these are can vary, however. And even though the execs seemed to hate ‘Birds of Prey’, they could put enough weight into a successful test screening, and allow the film to stay close to the way it is.
But again, take this information with a massive grain of salt.
‘Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)’ was directed by Cathy Yan, with a script by Christina Hodson. Margot Robbie stars as Harley Quinn, and also served as an executive producer. The cast also includes Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as The Huntress, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis/Black Mask, and Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz. The picture opens on February 7, 2020.