Oh boy, here we go again. I wouldn't be surprised if Warner Bros. stops screening their DC Universe movies in the very near future, because every time they do a wave of terrible reviews rises up and crashes down on top of them. You may recall some of the early pre-release buzz on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was actually pretty good until those reviews started to hit and that Rotten Tomatoes score plummeted.
Well now the same thing is happening to David Ayer's Suicide Squad with the first fusillade of reviews, and already it's dropped to a poor 35%, a mere 6 points higher than 'Batman v Superman'. Ayer isn't having it, though, and he took to Twitter to stand by his movie, even quoting Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata in the process.
Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas - Emiliano Zapata— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) August 2, 2016
Zapata quote is my way of saying I love the movie and believe in it. Made it for the fans. Best experience of my life. ❤️— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) August 2, 2016
Basically, he ain't goin' out like no sucka. It's good to see Ayer taking a strong, defiant stance in support of his movie rather than sitting back in weak acceptance the way Zack Snyder always does. Ayer has good reason to be optimistic the fans will take to it more than critics (as they did with 'Batman v Superman), as early tracking predicts a $125M opening weekend. Of course things could change the following week, but that's a good start for a film about supervillains most people haven't heard of.
Ayer may find himself surrounded by supporters, too, as fans with a lot of time on their hands started a Change.org petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes over its reviews of DC movies, which it deems "unjust" and "affects people’s opinion even if it’s a really great [movie].”
On that last point I will absolutely agree. Maybe not on the "great movie" bit, but definitely the rest. Even though I am an RT critic I've seen the way it can influence others into a sort of pack mentality. One or two prominent critics write a review and others, usually the lesser critics, let's keep it real, will follow in-kind so as not to be seen as outsiders defending a movie they probably don't really give a shit about.
And this negative buzz can and often does hurt a movie's long-term chances of success. For instance, a friend shared a critical Suicide Squad review from Indiewire's David Ehrlich, and it inspired a bunch of comments from people who had never seen the movie yet echoed his sentiments because he's a pretty popular guy. Chances are those folks won't be buying a ticket. While I'm not one to claim that our reviews have unlimited capability to sway others, when it comes to movies that people are already skeptical about, yes it definitely has an impact. Clearly we can't tell you shit that would keep you away from Captain America: Civil War or The Avengers, Marvel has a track record of quality films that Warner Bros. does not have yet. It just goes to show how difficult it is to shake off a negative stigma once it's latched on.
My review of Suicide Squad will be up later tonight. Will my score hurt or help its chances of being "fresh" or "rotten"?