Birds Of Prey Director Admits She Didn’t Have Creative Control On The Film

Birds of Prey

When Birds of Prey landed with a thud at the box office last year, becoming the lowest-grossing entry in the DCEU by some distance after barely scraping past $200 million globally, nobody could have predicted that it would finish 2020 as the most commercially successful comic book blockbuster of the year, comfortably out-earning Wonder Woman 1984.

And while fans might’ve celebrating long before Gal Gadot returned to the big screen as Diana Prince, Cathy Yan’s female-driven spinoff didn’t have the Coronavirus pandemic to blame for its underwhelming numbers. It looked as though most audiences simply weren’t interested, and the R-rating ultimately did more harm than help in terms of the movie’s commercial prospects.

Of course, before Birds of Prey was even released, it was revealed that John Wick‘s Chad Stahelski was helming reshoots designed to punch up the quality of the action, and the longtime stunt choreographer turned acclaimed filmmaker’s fingerprints are very much noticeable in several of the set pieces. Still, though Harley Quinn’s solo movie isn’t the worst entry in the shared universe, it just didn’t seem to tick a lot of boxes for most fans.

In a recent interview, Yan opened up about making the pic and admitted that she didn’t have much say in the final edit, with the majority of the creative decisions being taken by the Warner Bros. hierarchy, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with how Suicide Squad and Justice League turned out.

“I think when you’re dealing with a budget like Birds of Prey had and the sort of pressures of a studio, especially a studio that is undergoing a lot of change, inevitably you end up having to compromise and fight for stuff. And you win some and you lose a lot. It’s just kind of how it is. I would have loved to have more control over the edit. But that’s just kind of how it is. I don’t know if there’s a Cathy Yan cut out there, but I think for any filmmaker, all of us are in it because we want to express ourselves as wholly as possible. And to match what you ultimately see on screen with what’s in our head.”

Yan isn’t blaming the studio, though, and she’s smart enough to know that these things happen when a relatively untested director is handed $100 million to deliver a superhero blockbuster like Birds of Prey, especially when WB have so much history when it comes to meddling in the affairs of the DCEU.