Terminally ill fans getting private advance screenings of upcoming movies is a welcome recent trend. In 2015, J.J. Abrams screened a rough cut of The Force Awakens to Daniel Fleetwood, Disney showed an unfinished edit of Avengers: Endgame to fan ‘Alexander Q’ in January 2019, and Anthony Woodle got to see Halloween Kills in late 2020 – all of whom died shortly afterward. Now, Dark Knight fan Justin Ward is hoping that Warner Bros. will fulfil his dying wish to see The Batman, as it doesn’t look like he’s going to make it until March 2022.
Ward is suffering from brain metastases and according to his fundraising page, has “a few short months to live.” He’s posted a request to Warner Bros. and the DC fandom to let him see a screener of the film, which he says is the “#1 movie I held on for.” He’s also tagged Andy Serkis (who plays Alfred), director Matt Reeves and Kevin Smith to see if they can help out, with fans joining in to try and get the attention of Robert Pattinson, DC artist Jim Lee, and composer Michael Giacchino.
Of course, Ward’s situation is a little more complicated due to the long gap before the film’s release, but as shooting wrapped in March, there’s likely to be an assembly cut with incomplete FX and music. Reeves seems to have focused on practical effects and stunts for his take on the Caped Crusader, so it should be a fun watch even if it’s half-finished.
C’mon Warner Bros, what have you got to lose here? The studio has just faced a barrage of bad publicity in relation to its DCEU films, and screening a version of The Batman to this fan would give them the warm fuzzies for performing a good deed and secure a buttload of great press for next to no cost.