While many of "Suicide Squad's" critics have praised the film's cast, less positive words have been used to describe the overall tone and plot of the film. Now a report from The Hollywood Reporter gives insight into "Suicide Squad's" behind-the-scenes drama and partly explains some of the film's shortcomings.
A mix of anxious studio execs and an "ambitious" production schedule that left writer/director David Ayer little time to properly prep for his first major tentpole film affected the production. An unnamed source said Ayer only had six weeks to write the screenplay and that the release date -- a big deal for a movie of "Suicide Squad's" size -- could not be pushed back to give Ayer more time. But, as THR notes, this isn't a problem that's unique to "Suicide Squad"; in fact, "Squad's" production woes fit right in with a lot of other recent would-be blockbusters.
The response in March to "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," both critically and at the box office, reportedly left Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara more worried about "Suicide Squad." "BvS" did poorly with critics (it has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, two points lower than "Suicide Squad") and failed to make the $1 billion WB hopes it would make worldwide. An executive close to the studio told THR that "Kevin was really pissed about damage to the brand" and that concerns were raised that the dark tone of the film didn't match that of the trailer. That's when the studio decided to let Ayer continue with his version of the film while working on their own cut with help from Trailer Park, the company that made the trailer.
Sources close to the film said Ayer was aware of this and on board with the WB pursuing an alternate cut. Both cuts were tested on audiences in Northern California and, after getting feedback, "common ground" was found and the studio's cut won out. But, THR notes, completing that cut required extensive reshoots.
Warner Bros. will soon find out if the tinkering and testing done to get a final cut of "Suicide Squad" will pay off, as the film opens this weekend. But an industry veteran told THR that "Suicide Squad" will need to be a healthy hit in order to make its $175 million budget (which doesn't include promotion costs) worthwhile. "The movie's got to do $750 million, $800 million to break even," said the unnamed source. "If they get anywhere close to that, they'll consider it a win."
"Suicide Squad" opens on August 5.