Suicide Squad is looking to nab an August opening record as it’s becoming yet another critical flop for Warner Bros. The DC Comics Cinematic Universe seems to be in a really odd place at the moment, the films aren’t doing well with quality-wise with critics but still seem to make money.
The first wave of Suicide Squad reviews were unleashed and while some have been kind, a growing majority are either mixed or highly negative. You can read the varying reviews for yourselves to get a stronger idea why it’s either great or a disappointment, but it’s Rotten Tomatoes score gives the impression the studio has a lot more work ahead of them.
A new article from The Hollywood Reporter goes into detail on the film’s rushed production and equally bafflingly post-production choices.
WB’s head Kevin Tsujihara revealed David Ayer wrote the script in six weeks, which is a horrible short window to write a script for a movie of this scale. That’s also something that would set-off alarms, but it comes off as a point of pride when Kevin states it.
Though the studio believed there was enough time to get the movie done, a source with ties to the project says it was a sprint from the start. “[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.”
Scott Eastwood had been on Good Morning America today and revealed that Ayer cast him in the film, even though it didn’t even have a script at the time. I’m curious how many other cast members were hired without seeing a script.
Another issue is that they asked Trailer Park to help with the film’s editing, a company that helped create Suicide Squad‘s trailer campaign. A very odd thing to hire a company that cuts trailers to edit a major motion picture, another clue to the bonkers behind the scenes scrambling. They seemingly rejected Ayer’s original cut of the film for their own version.
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.
Kevin pointing out they were worried the brand would be damaged, after two movies getting this amount of negative attention it could become a major issue for their other DC films. Audiences might just assume an inferior product and just decide to skip entirely, something that eventually happened to WB after releasing Batman and Robin.
They mention that meeting release dates seem to be the most important thing on their minds, which might explain why productions are being shot without solid scripts.
Batman v Superman missed it’s billion dollar box office target to turn a profit and seemed to make the studio nervous, and THR reveals that they want to see Suicide Squad earn around $750-800 million worldwide to break even.
Even on the day of the premiere, one insider fretted about whether Suicide Squad would mirror BvS’ huge opening and weak legs. Another veteran says the goal is survival: “The movie’s got to do $750 million, $800 million to break even. If they get anywhere close to that, they’ll consider it a win.”
Even if fans eat this up, that demographic isn’t the same size as general audiences and will have a tough time getting repeat business to reach that target box office goal.
There had been word that the studio and Ayer were working on a sequel, which had been looking to start shooting next year. WB didn’t feel the need to reveal any of these plans publicly, and I guess we know why. A majority of reviewers did point-out the characters for the most part were fine, so it’s more than likely a course correcting sequel could still happen if makes enough money.
Recently, it was announced that Geoff Johns would be hired as the new president of DC Entertainment with him involved with the scripts for Wonder Woman, Aquaman and The Batman. There’s been some voices stating that Johns’ influence could be the universe’s saving-grace, but that remains to be seen and we’ll likely get a good feel for that when Wonder Woman is released in November.
We’ll have to wait and see if the studio will spend the extra time to develop the script first before setting dates, as we’ve seen them a little more cautious about dating things like The Batman and Green Lantern Corps.