Suicide Squad Producer Opens Up About Ayer Cut Testing Against Studio Version

From the moment James Gunn's The Suicide Squad was first announced, the feature drew comparisons to David Ayer's version of the supervillain team-up released in 2016. Warner Brothers has been exceptionally careful in labeling Gunn's take, refusing to call it a reboot or a sequel, it just is — just like Darkseid. Despite rave reviews for Gunn's version flooding in, Ayer still has a contingent hoping to lobby Warner Brothers for the eventual release of the "Ayer Cut," a similar move to what HBO Max did with Zack Snyder's Justice League earlier this year.

Long-time film executive Charles Roven was a producer on both versions of the feature, and has been in the news recently for his responses to questions regarding the fabled Ayer Cut. According to Roven, the studio opted to go with the version of the feature because it tested exactly the same as Ayer's.

"The interesting thing was, when we tested the Ayer version — to be honest, I can't sit here and remember how we got to that edited version, who was editing that edited version — but it wasn't Lee. It was somebody else that came in. The studio version was also different editors as well. We tested both versions. They tested exactly the same," Roven recently told THR.

The producer went on to explain that since there was no real "winner" after the tests, the studio and filmmakers were left discussing which parts of each movie they should put in the final cut. That final cut — even though it won an Oscar for makeup and hair — was nearly universally panned by critics and fans alike.

"Because they tested exactly the same, David and the studio and ourselves, meaning Rich and I and the heads of DC at that time — Jon Berg and Geoff Johns — we all sat in a room and tried to come up with what would be the best of both versions," Roven added. "Obviously, the movie made a really nice piece of change. Audiences liked it enough for us to want to do a sequel. But it definitely wasn't the exact vision of David, and it definitely wasn't the exact vision of the studio."

Immediately prior to the release of The Suicide Squad, Ayer released a lengthy statement blasting the studio for their cut of the film.

"I put my life into Suicide Squad," Ayer wrote in a statement he tweet to his followers. "I made something amazing. My cut is intricate and emotional journey with some bad people who are shit on and discarded (a theme that resonates in my soul). The studio cut is not my movie. Read that again. And my cut is not the 10 week director's cut – it's a fully mature edit by Lee Smith standing on the incredible work by John Gilroy. It's all Steven Price's brilliant score, with not a single radio song in the whole thing. It has traditional character arcs, amazing performances, a solid third-act resolution. A handful of people have seen it."

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The Suicide Squad is now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Peacemaker is expected to debut on HBO Max in 2022.

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