It’s been five years since Suicide Squad disappointed fans across the globe, yet unlike most bad films, this one has managed to stay in the zeitgeist through a series of hashtag campaigns. It started with the infamous #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign that took off like a wildfire, resulting in the recent release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League this past May on HBO Max. As the campaign raged on, a certain group of fans aimed their focus at the 2016 David Ayer directed Suicide Squad film, as it was common knowledge that studio interference played a heavy role in the final product. And with the success of the Snyder Cut release on HBO Max, the #ReleaseTheAyerCut campaign has taken the forefront in the minds of many Snyderverse fans as they call for David Ayer’s original vision to finally see the light of day. So, let’s discuss why WB should actually listen to the fans here, and release the director’s cut of Suicide Squad.
Let’s first take a trip into the past. For decades, film studios have been releasing director’s cuts of movies, and many of them have become the superior versions in the eyes of the fans, such as Daredevil, Aliens, Kingdom of Heaven, and Superman II. However, one of the best has to be Blade Runner, the 1982 cult classic sci-fi film from Ridley Scott. This film has had an exorbitant amount of alternate versions, including the theatrical cut (1982), the Criterion Cut (1982), the broadcast version (1986), the Director’s Cut (1992), and The Final Cut (2007), which is considered by many to be the definitive version of the film. This is the one and only version in which director Ridley Scott had complete control. Even with the so-called “Director’s Cut”, Scott wasn’t in charge of everything and Warner Bros. pushed forward with this Final Cut, securing a fan-favorite version of this cult classic film.
So with a legacy of director’s cuts throughout film history, and a precedent for handing the reigns back over to the director for a final, definitive version of their story, it seems that the only thing standing in WB’s way is WB themselves.
It’s clear that the fans want this film, and if anyone is in desperate need of some good press with their fanbase, it’s WB. After years, they finally gave us the Snyder Cut, and it exceeded expectations among the fans, but was it worth it? According to a Forbes article from back in March, at the time of the Snyder Cut’s launch on HBO Max, the mobile app saw an increase of almost 1.5 million new downloads for the streaming service’s app, surpassing the previous week’s downloads by 64%. They also confirmed from SambaTV that 2.2 million viewers watched the film in the first week on their service, equating to a little over $20 million for the opening week gross just from them. They even managed to crush it with the home release, topping the Blu-Ray sales charts, even while the film was still on HBO Max.
Now, all of this may not seem like much, especially considering it cost them an additional $70 million to bring Zack Snyder’s Justice League to life, but it’s clear that the audience is hungry for more, and with the constant trending nature of the #ReleaseTheAyerCut campaign, it just makes sense to give it a shot, especially with the recent release of the highly popular follow-up, The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn. WB should be using the new film’s popularity to help draw some buzz around a possible director’s cut for the first one. Take it into their own hands and help control the narrative, showing that they do listen, and are willing to own up to their mistakes.
It’s obvious that they want to sweep away anything else related to the Snyderverse, at least as much as they can without completely rebooting and recasting the DCEU. We’ve gone from director’s and cast members falling in line to praise Suicide Squad and Justice League, to now seeing the truth come out from many involved, including David Ayer himself.
Back in 2016, when Suicide Squad came out, rumors of studio interference were running rampant, and even though we now know them to be true, at the time, David Ayer played the role he was supposed to, and wouldn’t speak ill of the version of his film that was released in theaters. In fact, he even went as far as to debunk many peoples’ thoughts that this version was not the version he wanted released. It’s understandable that he didn’t want to burn that bridge back then, however, five years later, that tune has definitely changed.
Just a couple of months ago, Ayer posted on Twitter praising James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, while simultaneously trashing WB for what they did to his film, stating, among other things, “The studio cut is not my movie.” He went on to talk about how his cut is “an intricate and emotional journey” and “is not the 10-week director’s cut – It’s a fully mature edit . . . with not a single radio song in the whole thing.”
And then, just last month, we saw a leaked version of Ayer’s Suicide Squad script surface on Twitter, which he confirmed was legit. It gave us an insight into what we missed by not getting his version of the film. It’s a much darker film, diving more into the intricacies of Jared Leto’s Joker, and even showcasing a romance between Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Deadshot (Will Smith). Not only did we get script pages, but we’ve also been getting a lot of never-before-seen images from his cut, even as recent as this past Tuesday when some new Joker images surfaced.
So, as far as WB goes, perhaps it is time they stop acting like the Snyderverse didn’t happen. Those films are what built the universe they are continuing to capitalize on, and if they truly want to make amends for some of their past indiscretions, maybe this is the way to go. Future filmmakers need to see that they can trust that they won’t be railroaded by the studio and can, instead, produce the work they were hired to do. I understand that not every movie can be controlled entirely by the director. It’s a business. However, a little good faith can go a long way, so why not start here.