Skip To Content

    "Batgirl" Was Just Shelved Despite Being Nearly Complete — Here Are 11 Other Movies That Will Never See The Light Of Day

    Release Batgirl, you cowards!!!!

    Recently, news broke that upcoming DC film Batgirl has been scrapped completely.

    “Batgirl,” the feature film adaptation of the DC Comics character, has been killed at Warner Bros.

    Twitter: @Variety

    Fans were not pleased, especially considering it still seems DC plans to release The Flash, which has been plagued with issues due to its star, Ezra Miller.

    WB not cancelling The Flash after all the Ezra Miller bullshit but they cancel Batgirl????? HUH?????

    Twitter: @comicyehu

    The film won't even show on streaming platforms, likely due to some complicated tax reasons I'm not going into, but you can read about here.

    "Batgirl" was nearly finished and already building awareness among fans. Why would Warner Bros. Discovery throw all that away? According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the most likely reason: taxes.

    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

    The decision is shocking, especially considering the reported $90 million spent on the film. Also, the movie was set to feature Michael Keaton returning to the role of Batman — a move that has been highly anticipated, though we will now have to wait for The Flash to see it. It also starred Leslie Grace, J.K. Simmons, and Brendan Fraser.

    While movies often get stuck in so-called development hell or never get completed, Batgirl is unique in that it was nearly done. Finished films rarely get shelved for obvious reasons — the studio wants to get a return on investment by releasing it. But there have been a few other cases when this has happened.

    Here are 11 other nearly completed films that were buried and never saw the light of day:

    *Quick note: When providing years for these movies, I am referring to the year in which they were filmed, as these were obviously not released.

    1. First up, I should mention the other film that was shelved along with Batgirl: Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, a sequel to 2020's Scoob! While the film wasn't technically complete, the animation was finished, and director Michael Kurinsky said they were in the "home stretch" of completing it.

    Producer and writer Tony Cervone confirmed the news on Instagram, also emphasizing that the film was largely complete.

    2. One of the most infamous examples is The Fantastic Four (not the 2005 version), a film that was reportedly never meant to be released from the start. Filmmaker Bernd Eichinger had bought the rights to the Fantastic Four characters in 1983, but nine years later, he still hadn't made a film (as studios didn't want to fund the expensive project). As he was risking losing the option, he decided to make a low-budget version of Fantastic Four.

    The Fantastic Four logo

    The B-movie was made in 1992–93 and slated to premiere in January 1994 — but then Marvel Entertainment exec Avi Arad, who wanted to one day create a larger-scale version of Fantastic Four, paid Eichinger to shelve the project. Rumors abounded that Eichinger never planned to actually release that film, with Stan Lee saying this was true, but Eichinger denied this. However, Eichinger did work with Marvel and Fox to eventually produce 2005's Fantastic Four.

    the cast of The Fantastic Four

    You can watch a trailer for the 1994 version here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Constantin Film / Via

    Though it was never officially released, you can actually watch the full film here.

    3. Another infamous example you may have heard of? The Day the Clown Cried, a 1972 Swedish French film about a clown in a concentration camp. Director (and star) Jerry Lewis did create a rough cut of the film, but due to rights issues and the fact that Lewis became embarrassed by the film, it was never released.

    Jerry Lewis as a clown

    Comedian Harry Shearer, who saw the rough cut, said, "This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is."

    a clown in a concentration camp with kids

    Bits of the film have been leaked online over the years, but the rough cut has not. Lewis did provide some footage to the Library of Congress, but barred them from releasing it until 2024 — and it is not a complete copy of the film. If you want to learn more about the film, you can watch a BBC feature on it below.

    View this video on YouTube

    BBC South Today / Via

    4. Back in 2018, Kevin Spacey starred in the Gore Vidal biopic Gore. The film was completed just weeks before the first sexual misconduct and assault allegations against Spacey came out, leading Netflix to drop the film, which cost them $39 million.

    Beyond just the fact of Spacey starring, his character was attempting to seduce a younger male character, and there were a number of other scenes that would've taken on a darker meaning in the wake of the allegations.

    a part of the script to Gore

    5. Similarly, Louis CK's film I Love You, Daddy was also scrapped after he admitted to masturbating in front of several women without their consent. Not only because he created the film, but also because of the film's subject matter. In the film, CK's character's daughter attracts the attention of a much-older director who is a suspected pedophile.

    Louis CK

    You can watch a trailer here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Circus King Films / Jax Media / Via

    6. And Bill Cosby's comedy special Bill Cosby 77 was also scrapped after the sexual assault allegations against the comedian came out. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to release that,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in 2015, after originally postponing its 2014 release.

    a closeup of Bill Cosby

    7. But there are other films that are scrapped without these sorts of issues with actors, and sometimes for no reason at all. Brendan Fraser certainly has had bad luck with unreleased films. His 2004 film Big Bug Man — which also featured Marlon Brando in his last role before his death — was shelved for unknown reasons a few years later. It's unknown how much work was completed on the film, though Brando's recording was complete. Storyboards can be found online and seen in part below.

    Big Bug Man was an adult 2D animated movie where a guy ends up receiving bug super powers, and was supposed to be set for release in 2006, and it starred Marlon Brando in what would be his final role ever, but we'll never get to hear it, because the film was abruptly dropped.

    Twitter: @artoflostandcan

    The movie's plot involved a candy company worker getting superpowers after being bitten by a bug. Brando played an old woman, doing so in full drag despite the fact that he was just providing the voice. He called it "the most fun I've had since playing Julius Caesar."

    8. Killing Winston Jones is similar in that it's unclear why it has not been released — though, as a more recent film, it's possible it still might be. The movie was filmed in 2012, and starred Danny Glover, Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Masterson, and Jon Heder. It was expected to be released in 2014 after a poster was shared, but then...nothing ever happened, and it doesn't seem like anything has been said about it since.

    9. Black Water Transit also could technically still be released, but based on the legal troubles that have affected post-production, it seems unlikely to be anytime soon. The film stars Laurence Fishburne, Karl Urban, and Brittany Snow, and was filmed in 2007 in New Orleans. While the film is not completely finished, a rough cut has been made, and footage was apparently screened at Cannes in 2009.

    This is listed as a trailer for the film, but it could be fan-made.

    View this video on YouTube

    Cheyenne Enterprises / Black Water Transit Acquisition Company / Aramid Entertainment / Via

    10. Hippie Hippie Shake, a film chronicling the rise of Australian magazine Oz and its obscenity trial, was also filmed in 2007, and will likely never be released. The film starred Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller. Back in 2011, the production company confirmed it would not be released in cinemas. It seemed it may get a direct-to-video release, but this never materialized. Miller said in 2017 it would probably never be released.

    a hippie man and woman pose for a photo

    11. And finally, one old example is the Charlie Chaplin film A Woman of the Sea. Chaplin was reportedly unhappy with the way the film came out, and at an initial screening for reviewers, they agreed — so Chaplin decided against releasing it. He later destroyed the prints for tax purposes, in a sort of old-school version of what's happening with Batgirl.

    a closeup of Charlie Chaplin