Suicide Squad director David Ayer says Warner Bros. panicked after poor Batman v Superman reviews, leading the studio to re-cut his movie.
Suicide Squad director David Ayer says that the poor reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice led to his film being re-cut. Director Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman was released in March 2016 as the second installment in the DC Extended Universe. Despite positive responses to Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, the film was largely eviscerated by critics for being humorless and overly dark. This contributed to an underwhelming box office performance and a recalibration of the DCEU on the part of Warner Bros.
Ayer's Suicide Squad followed BvS five months later. Fans were initially excited when trailers revealed the tone would be in line with Snyder's previous DC films as well as other Ayer films such as Training Day and End of Watch. The big screen debut of Task Force X was a box office success and even earned an Academy Award, but it still found little favor among critics. Many pointed to the thinly developed characters, plot holes, and dicey editing. Since then, the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement has inspired Ayer to come forward and reveal his original vision for Suicide Squad was never realized due to studio interference.
Now Ayer is providing more context on why Suicide Squad was re-cut to something other than what he envisioned. On Twitter, the director said that the poor reviews for Batman v Superman led to more studio interference. Ayer also points to the success of Deadpool as a factor in the shift in tone for Suicide Squad.
Warner Bros. stepping in to change Suicide Squad is not a new revelation. The studio financed multiple edits of the movie to compete with David Ayer's version, ultimately going with a more lighthearted tone. The theatrical version of Suicide Squad was edited by Trailer Park, the company that had worked on the film's teaser. This is all in addition to a rushed production schedule and expensive additional photography, which Ayer alludes to in his tweet.
It should be made clear that David Ayer is not blaming Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman for Suicide Squad's failures. Snyder was an executive producer on Suicide Squad and the two directors collaborated on several aspects of the film, including how it would connect to Justice League. Ayer has also been a vocal supporter of the Snyder Cut movement and celebrated HBO Max's decision to release the director's cut next year.
The reality is that Ayer points the finger at Warner Bros. and its knee-jerk reaction to criticism of Batman v. Superman. Rather than give Ayer the chance to tell the story he was hired to create, the studio stepped in and made the same mistakes it would later make again with Justice League. By all reports, Warner Bros. has a much better approach to DC Films now than it did five years ago. The studio may have learned its lesson but it came at the expense of Ayer's artistic vision and fans may have been robbed of a truly unique comic book movie. Still, there remains hope that Ayer's cut of Suicide Squad could someday be released on HBO Max or elsewhere.