Despite a stellar marketing campaign and a slew of trailers that made everyone legitimately excited to see the film, it’s looking more and more like Suicide Squad may be yet another critically-underwhelming outing for the DCEU, following the disappointing Batman v Superman reception earlier this year.
However, similar to several other blockbuster movies from the past few years, it looks like Suicide Squad may have been the victim of yet another case of poor studio interference.
According to a new report from THR, which cites numerous sources close to the production, Warner Bros. apparently brought in multiple editors to finish a final cut of the film (though they were uncredited) in order to make it a “lighter, studio-favored” version, rather than director David Ayer’s. The report also notes that while John Gilroy is the only credited editor on the film, he wasn’t even involved in the project by the end of it, with a source close to the production saying that Michael Tronik was the final editor.
Apparently, the studio even had their cut of the film ready to go for several of the test screenings (which was co-created by Trailer Park, the same company that made the film’s trailer), alongside of Ayer’s, which was notably more somber and serious, though the director apparently “agreed to and participated in the process” for the studio.
The goal was to show both versions to test audiences, and they would wait to see which the audiences preferred before they made a decision on the final cut, and well ““the studio-favored version with more characters introduced early in the film and jazzed-up graphics won.”
In order to accommodate the new tonal requirements though, that meant the studio had to throw up millions of more dollars in expensive reshoots and additional footage to be shot and added into the film, which seems to fit right in line with the film’s jumbled, confused, and disorienting tonal issues.
As you can probably imagine, sources close to the film say that the struggle to meet the new requirements while also working with what they already had, took a huge toll on Ayer as the filmmaker. “He was under a lot — a lot — of pressure,” says one source, who also argued that Ayer needed more time to try and process the different conflicting ideas influencing the project, with some even saying that had he not been so rushed in the beginning (being forced to write the entire script in just six weeks), the process might have been a much smoother one throughout.
Considering that critics’ biggest complaints with the film right now, seem to be its jumbled tone and strange editing choices, it’s sounding more and more like this heavy amount of studio interference is to blame. That’s not to say that Ayer’s original version would have been necessarily amazing, but it certainly sounds like it might have been a more coherent film than what we’ve received, which is saved mostly by its stars according to most reviews.
Right now, the film is tracking for a large opening weekend, and I imagine Warner Bros. is desperately hoping that audiences receive the film with much warmer praise than most critics are. Batman v Superman did well in its opening weekend also though, and it’ll be interesting to see if Suicide Squad, despite the similar reviews and complaints, will have longer legs than its DCEU predecessor did, or if it will also fall victim to lack of repeated viewings and prolonged interest.
Suicide Squad is set to hit theatres on August 5th.
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