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WIRE Buzz: Cathy Yan on Birds of Prey disappointment; Scott Derrickson talks delays; more

By Josh Weiss
Birds of Prey

When Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) hit theaters in early February, fans were shocked to see the DCEU project underperforming in its very first weekend at the box office.

The $80 - $100 million film bowed to a meager $33 million in North America and a slightly better $48 million in foreign territories. Even the decision by major theater chains to amend the lengthy title to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey didn't do much to help the situation, as the movie fell to $20 million during its second weekend once Sonic the Hedgehog sped onto the big screen.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, BoP director Cathy Yan offered up her own two cents on why the release was, for all intents and purposes, a flop.

"I know that the studio had really high expectations for the movie — as we all did. There were also undue expectations on a female-led movie, and what I was most disappointed in was this idea that perhaps it proved that we weren’t ready for this yet," she said. "That was an extra burden that, as a woman-of-color director, I already had on me anyway. So, yes, I think there were certainly different ways you could interpret the success or lack of success of the movie, and everyone has a right to do that. But, I definitely do feel that everyone was pretty quick to jump on a certain angle."

Birds of Prey

Set after the events of Suicide Squad, the film finds Harley (Margot Robbie) attempting to sever ties with the Joker (Leto's take on the villain doesn't make an appearance) after the two decide to call it quits. Over the course of the plot, Quinn comes to realize that she doesn't need a powerful man (like Ewan McGregor's Roman Sionis) to protect her and finds a kind of pseudo family in Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez).

Birds of Prey is now available for purchase on digital platforms.

While it's very unfortunate that a lot of film releases (Black Widow, Indiana Jones 5, etc.) have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, director Scott Derrickson believes that postponement can only benefit effects-heavy summer blockbusters in the long run.

"The pushing of all these big tentpole release dates will increase their overall quality — more time for script & production design development," the Doctor Strange filmmaker recently wrote on Twitter. "Blade Runner looks so amazing because Ridley Scott & his team took a year during the 80-81 actors & WGA strikes to perfect the visuals."

He went on to add that production on Doctor Strange was pushed off by five months in order to secure Benedict Cumberbatch for the role of arrogant surgeon turned wizard Stephen Strange.

"Had we not done that, we would not have had time to get the script right or figure out how to achieve a lot of the visuals," continued Derrickson.

In January, Derrickson parted ways with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is now scheduled to hit theaters on Nov. 5, 2021. Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-Man) is expected to replace him as director, although no confirmation has been announced by Marvel Studios just yet. Once news of that broke, however, Derrickson praised the decision on social media.

In February, the project received a new screenwriter, Loki showrunner Michael Waldron.

And now, for your daily dose of WTAF. 

Netflix has released a new trailer for The Midnight Gospel, an upcoming animated series from the minds of Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and comedian Duncan Trussell. Don't expect to glean any sort of cohesive plot or narrative from this latest round of footage. Instead, prepare for an experience that we imagine is akin to dropping a butt-load of LSD.

As an added bonus, the trailer's song by Jonathan Palmer & Aldous Finch is a delightful discovery.

Watch below:

If you are a stickler for specifics, though, we can tell you that the show is about Clancy, "a spacecaster with a malfunctioning multiverse simulator who leaves the comfort of his extra-dimensional home on the Chromatic Ribbon to interview beings living in other worlds."

The Midnight Gospel premieres on Netflix Monday, April 20. We see what you're going for, Netflix.