If it’s not broke: Why don’t studios have more faith in who they hire?

The summer of 2016 will go down in history as the summer of the “flawed” blockbuster, the summer a battalion of angry fan boys took to their keyboards in apparent disgust at what they were seeing on their cinema screens. I will start by saying I wasn’t one of those keyboard warriors. Not to say I wasn’t disappointed, just not specifically with the films in question, more with those pulling the strings, the studio executives, the people who greenlight “reimaginings” and the far more concerning trait of forcing re-writes, reshoots and the such. Could it be said the studio system needs to have more faith in those they entrust with their flagship projects?

The two big films that arguably received the most unfair flack this summer were both DC properties, Batman V Superman & Suicide Squad respectively, they were also 2 films that would have faired much better in the cinemas if the studios had left them alone in the hands of their writers & directors. Both BVS & SS were subject to last minute cuts, rewrites and reshoots mere months before they went to the screen, Warners were apparently getting cold feet about the harsh, dark approach and long running time in BVS and imposed cuts that truncated the theatrical cut of the film prompting a slew of fan abuse and poor reviews. As a result of the response to BVS, Warners panicked and sent the completed Suicide Squad back for reshoots and as we now know, extensive cuts, as they perceived the dark tone to be the contributing factor, not possibly, I dunno, needless intervention maybe?!

Playing devils advocate, Is it the possibility of alienating a section of their audience with a high age rating? Warners really should not be concerning themselves with ending up with a R, earlier this year, one of the best received films of the year was released, it was a hard R and it was a comic book movie. Deadpool cleaned house on its release early this year showing that studios need to have a little more faith and trust in the people they hire to handle their projects and not be afraid of a little more edge. They had two capable directors in the hands on Snyder & Ayer, two men who had a vision for where they wanted to take their respective films and both had their legs cut from beneath them by the studio. Had this not happened we probably would have had two much more coherent films and the DCCU could well have been on the way to giving the MCU a run for its money, now the future of the DCCU is looking decidedly dicey.

So why don’t studios have more faith in who they hire? That’s not a rhetorical question, I genuinely want to know. Is it that they feel that can’t take risks anymore? Is it apathy? These films are going make bank anyway. Is it all one big conspiracy against the studios output of films as some parties would have us believe? What is apparent is that there doesn’t seem to be any clear cut answer, it could well be an amalgamation of one or more of those things. It certainly is a worrying trend affecting films that people desperately want to see succeed and a trend that I hope will see a sizeable downturn in the years to come.

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