There have been plenty of bad films based on comic books over the years. Who can ever forget Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Batman & Robin, or the latest Hellboy? However, there’s one film that stands apart from all the rest as a byword for bad movies: Catwoman.
Released in 2004, Catwoman was a massive flop for Warner Bros., generating a meager $82 million from a budget of $100 million. The film was so bad that it received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations and won four of them, including Halle Berry winning the dubious honor of being named Worst Actress. It came just three years after she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball, becoming the first Black woman to win the award.
Berry has always responded to the criticism with good humor, and is one of the few people to ever actually turn up at the Razzies to accept her “reward.” Speaking recently with Entertainment Weekly, Berry says she doesn’t regret the role to this day. “It was one of the biggest paydays of my whole life, which, there’s nothing wrong with that,” she said. “I don’t want to feel like ‘Oh, I can only do award-worthy stuff.’ What is an award-worthy performance?”
Speaking at length on her career, Berry said that she was surprised by the offers she received after winning the Oscar, initially believing that studios would “back up the truck and drop them off at my house.”
When you have a historic win like that, you think, ‘Oh, this is going to fundamentally change.’ It did fundamentally change me, but it didn’t change my place in the business overnight. I still had to go back to work. I still had to try to fight to make a way out of no way.
Berry has previously gone on record lamenting the fact that she had little input into the script, and that her experience on set made her want to pursue directing. “I remember having that argument: ‘Why can’t Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?'” Berry told Variety last year. “But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn’t the director. I had very little say over that.”
Halle Berry’s directorial debut finally came with the MMA drama Bruised, which premieres on Netflix later this year. Berry also stars in the film, playing a disgraced fighter named Jackie Justice who seeks to reunite with her estranged son while preparing to face one of the rising stars of the Octagon.
Were it not for Catwoman; Berry may never have become a director. She doesn’t consider Catwoman a personal failure; instead, it was a learning experience and an essential stop on her career path.
“Everybody around me said, ‘Girl, don’t do it. It’s going to be the death of you. It’s going to end your career.’ But guess what I did? I followed my intuition, and I did a movie called Catwoman, and it bombed miserably,” Berry said in 2018. “While it failed to most people, it wasn’t a failure for me because I met so many interesting people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, I learned two forms of martial arts, and I learned not what to do.”
I say that to say, Following your intuition doesn’t always mean you’re going to be successful or win the prize, but it means you’re always going to learn the exact lesson or get the exact accolades or the exact check that you’re supposed to get for yourself. Never compare that to anyone else.
Anyone curious about how bad Catwoman is can find it on HBO Max. Halle Berry’s directorial debut Bruised will drop on November 24 on Netflix.