You’ve probably read or heard about the Suicide Squad reviews by now, so if you want to send a thank you note or a bloody horse head to someone, you can send it to Warner Bros.
The announced the movie in October 2014 then David Ayer rush and half ass a script instead of losing branding partners and making people say bad things on the Internet.
“[Ayer] wrote the script in like, six weeks, and they just went,” he says, arguing that the whole process would have benefited if Ayer, 48, had been given more time to work. But another source closely involved with the film says once it was dated, pushing back the release was not an option: “It’s not just that you’ve told the public the movie is coming, you’ve made huge deals around the world with huge branding partners, with merchandise partners. It’s a really big deal to move a tentpole date.”
The BvS STD infected studio executives so badly to the point where they hired the company who cut the trailer to cut a version of the movie without David Ayer for the simple fact that people liked the trailers.
A source with knowledge of events says Warners executives, nervous from the start, grew more anxious after they were blindsided and deeply rattled by the tepid response to BvS. “Kevin was really pissed about damage to the brand,” says one executive close to the studio. A key concern for Warners executives was that Suicide Squad didn’t deliver on the fun, edgy tone promised in the strong teaser trailer for the film. So while Ayer pursued his original vision, Warners set about working on a different cut, with an assist from Trailer Park, the company that had made the teaser. By the time the film was done, multiple editors had been brought into the process, though only John Gilroy is credited.
David Ayer fought for his original vision, but men in suits apparently always know what’s best.
Other sources describe a fraught process — one cites “a lot of panic and ego instead of calmly addressing the tonal issue.” Clearly all wasn’t sitting right with Ayer, who in June suddenly dropped his longtime agent at CAA and defected to WME, though the agency won him back in a day. “He was under a lot — a lot — of pressure,” says one person with knowledge of the situation, arguing that Ayer was exhausted and needed time to process conflicting ideas.
Warner Bros. tested two cuts of the film, and surprise, theirs won, but they wanted to split the difference which led to reshoots and further fucking up.
In May, Ayer’s more somber version and a lighter, studio-favored version were tested with audiences in Northern California. “If there are multiple opinions that aren’t in sync, you go down multiple tracks — two tracks at least,” says an insider. “That was the case here for a period of time, always trying to get to a place where you have consensus.” Those associated with the film insist Ayer agreed to and participated in the process. Once feedback on the two versions was analyzed, it became clear it was possible to get to “a very common-ground place.” (The studio-favored version with more characters introduced early in the film and jazzed-up graphics won.) Getting to that place of consensus, however, required millions of dollars’ worth of additional photography.
Warner Bros. returned the favor by throwing David Ayer and Will Smith under the bus.
And there may have been other strains. Just weeks before the two versions were tested, Warner Bros. declined to ante up for Ayer’s next project, Bright, which will reunite him with Suicide Squad star Will Smith. He ended up at Netflix, which made a staggering $90 million deal.
You know why you’ll never get a big name director to touch a superhero movie anymore? Because of shit like this. Christopher Nolan became a big name director because of The Dark Knight trilogy, but by the time he got to the “trilogy” part, even he was mailing it in. All of this won’t matter to the fanboy or Warner Bros., because they’ll tout the reported box-office record it’s gonna break, but the budget for this clusterfuck was $175M. That means it has to make $350M to break even. And if you add promotional costs and marketing, that number is closer to $750M. And it’s not getting a China release. So good luck with that. Also good luck ranting on Facebook about how “Suicide Squad: Ultimate Edition” is great and how “Suicide Squad: Even More Ultimate-er Editions 2 & 3” really shows that Warner Bros. knows what it’s doing while they suck every possible penny from your dumbass.