David Ayer Had 6 Weeks to Write ‘Suicide Squad’ Because Branding and Timetables

Before you read this, check out Robin’s review of Suicide Squad.

Done? Ok. Now, do you want to know why the movie ended up the way it did? It’s the same old story that’s replayed itself time and time again with tentpole movies. The studio, in this case Warner Bros., wanted it to succeed so badly with as quick a turnaround time as possible that they gave director David Ayer only six weeks to write the script. I could barely finish a book report on Animal Farm in six weeks and they wanted this dude to write a summer blockbuster in that time AND make it the best DC film to date (which, let’s face it, is a pretty low bar at this point)?

Why didn’t the studio just push back the release? Says a source, “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.” Yea, because making a film these days isn’t about the actual film. It’s about the licensing deals you can make on stupid ass toys for kids who won’t remember the movie in 5 years. Hey, Warner Bros. You know no one is going to give a s**t about your toys and shirts unless the movie is good right? It’s a bit of chicken or egg here.

So, why did they even pick Ayer, who did FuryEnd of Watch and Training Day, when he doesn’t have a track record of creating big blockbusters? Because no “proven” director is insane enough to agree to this unless they want a lot more money and/or to make it good which means taking more than just SIX WEEKS to develop a script.

Add to that BvS made Warner execs nervous as hell with the lackluster response it got. Under a lot of pressure to hit a homerun, execs started shitting themselves when they saw the trailer and then Ayer’s cut and then the trailer again and began getting concerned that it “didn’t deliver on the fun, edgy tone promised in the strong teaser trailer for the film.”

Warner’s response? Bring in the guys who cut the trailer, Trailer Park, to cut the entire film to make it all those things! By the time all was said and done, the film had been cut by multiple editors. Two versions of the film, Ayer’s and the new cut, were shown to test audiences in NorCal. Guess how that went?

“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.

Other sources describe a fraught process — one cites “a lot of panic and ego instead of calmly addressing the tonal issue.”

In a final f**k you to Ayer, Warner Bros. passed on Ayer’s next project, Bright, starring Will Smith. Netflix ended up making a $90 million deal to pick it up.

Of course, WB is going to ask for the W on this because the film is tracking to make more than $140 million domestically (numbers currently have it at $133 million). Any excuse to snort lines off a stripper’s ass with a rolled up $100 bill, I guess.

Look. Everyone knows this movie sucks. It’s entertaining in the way mindless moving pictures going kablooey usually are, but it sucks. The only good thing to come of this is the fact that girls everywhere this year are going to be dressed as Harley Quinn for Halloween. At least Suicide Squad has given us that.

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7 years ago

c’mon a lot of people actually enjoyed this film. stop speaking for the rest of us.

7 years ago

Ah come on in fairness, while enjoyable enough, it was a total mess of a movie. It’s even worse the second time.