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We already told you that Suicide Squad, despite a glut of bad reviews and potentially peeved fans, will still most likely coast its way to box office success this weekend. Big deal, who cares, etc. But don't take it from us. Though the Hollywood Reporter is predicting that Suicide Squad will likely top $140 million domestically on opening weekend, its sources have also unveiled some behind-the-scenes anguish that appears to be becoming a bit of a standard in massive Hollywood productions.
"[Director David Ayer] wrote the script in like, six weeks, and they just went," one source close to the film told THR of its sprint-like production tactics. "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," another industry source added. "It's a really big deal to move a tentpole date."
To recap everything we've learned so far: big studio stress isn't fun.
Prior to Suicide Squad, Ayer's impressive filmography (Fury, Training Day) was mostly devoid of strategically branded blockbusters. According to an unnamed franchise producer, that's exactly what big studios like Warner Bros. look for when putting together a project of this size. "There are a lot of people who don't want to direct those movies, and that's a huge problem," the source told THR. "A lot of the proven guys are back-to-back with their stuff, or they want to develop it for five years."
According to the report, Suicide Squad's behind-the-scenes problems became strikingly apparent after Warner Bros. higher-ups received word of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's mostly negative response from both audiences and critics alike. Studio officials then reportedly started working on their own cut of Suicide Squad, while Ayer continued crafting his own simultaneously.
Confusingly, in a joint statement released to THR Wednesday, Ayer and Warner Bros. production boss Greg Silverman asserted that all involved parties were practically stoked with the final result and mentioned no such drama:
"This was an amazing experience. We did a lot of experimentation and collaboration along the way. But we are both very proud of the result. This is a David Ayer film, and Warners is proud to present it."
If that sounds like a straight-up clusterfuck of abominable proportions, you're not wrong. Though THR's immersive report claims Ayer and the studio were able to find common ground, the "studio-favored version" of Suicide Squad ultimately won the battle. If recent whisperings of notable shake-ups during the post-production process of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are any indication, no property—no matter how massive—escapes the stress of franchise filmmaking.