The R-rated theatrical cut of the DC Extended Universe film Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is once again available to stream on HBO Max.
Birds of Prey was first added to WarnerMedia's HBO Max streaming service in August of 2020. The film was removed from HBO Max last month on Nov. 14. Its absence was brief, and the R-rated comic book movie soon returned to the platform. However, when Birds of Prey was re-added to HBO Max, the version that was made available to stream was not the original R-rated cut, but rather, the TV-14-rated broadcast television edit that had recently begun airing on TNT. Said version of the film is "edited for content," with R-rated material being scrubbed.
Confusion ruled for a time, with many fans taking to social media trying to figure out just what was going on. After being made aware of the situation, an official HBO Max Twitter account responded, "Hey, there, right now we have no information when we will get the unedited version of Birds of Prey... [I]t may just change with no fanfare at all. Have faith and thanks."
Around the same time, a spokesperson for WarnerMedia issued a statement to CBR, confirming that the television edit of Birds of Prey had been added to HBO Max in error, and that the original R-rated version would be restored to the platform. As of right now, the film's R-rated cut is, in fact, available to stream on HBO Max again, with the F-bombs and middle fingers flying freely once more.
Directed by Cathy Yan from a screenplay by Christina Hodson, Birds of Prey initially premiered in theaters on Feb. 7, 2020. The film serves as a spinoff of writer-director David Ayer's 2016 DCEU film Suicide Squad, with Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn. Robbie was joined in the film by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett as Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz and Ewan McGregor as Black Mask. Birds of Prey struggled at the box office, though was met with predominantly positive reception from fans and critics alike.
Robbie subsequently reprised her role as Harley Quinn once again in writer-director James Gunn's soft reboot/standalone sequel The Suicide Squad, which premiered earlier this year. Additionally, Smollett is expected to reprise her role as Dinah Lance in a Black Canary solo film currently in development for HBO Max, with Misha Green penning the script.
Meanwhile, Hodson is writing the script for HBO Max's upcoming Batgirl solo film, which is directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and stars Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. Grace stars opposite DCEU veteran J.K. Simmons, who reprises his role as James Gordon. Additionally, Brendan Fraser will play the film's main antagonist, Firefly. The Batgirl film is rumored to set up the aforementioned Black Canary solo film.
Source: HBO Max
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