Director David Ayer has praised a negative Bright review that called his $90 million Netflix cops-and-orcs fantasy “the worst movie of 2017.” Early reviews of Bright have indeed been largely negative, with most critics citing the dialogue and story as the major issues. The movie currently sits at 32% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Netflix outbid major studios like Warner Bros. and MGM to land Bright, a mash-up of the buddy-cop and D&D fantasy genres. The streaming giant pulled something of a coup by attracting bona fide movie star Will Smith to the project. The movie gained further credibility when Netflix hired Suicide Squad director David Ayer to helm. Ayer’s background on gritty crime dramas like End of Watch and Street Kings seemingly would come in handy in realizing the movie’s genre-bending world. Set in an alternate present LA, the film imagines humans living side-by-side with orcs, fairies, elves, and other fantasy races. The story follows cops Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, the latter an orc, as they become reluctant partners. In true tentpole fashion, the new buddy-cops soon find themselves saving earth from villains armed with a magic object.
With Bright nearly set for its release on Netflix, critics have taken their knives out for the fantasy epic. Director David Ayer took particular note of one review by IndieWire‘s David Ehrlich calling Bright “the single worst movie of 2017.” Ayer wasted no time in responding to the critic. Here’s what the director tweeted:
BRIGHT, Netflix’s first mega-budget feature, is the single worst movie of 2017: http://www.indiewire.com/2017/12/bright-review-netflix-will-smith-max-landis-david-ayer-worst-movie-2017-1201909960/ … pic.twitter.com/lcBpymWaCs
This is going on my fridge. Highest compliment is a strong reaction either way. This is a f*cking epic review. It’s a big fun movie. You can sure string words together Mr. Erlich. I’d love to read any script you’ve written.
5:29 AM – Dec 21, 2017
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After Ehrlich responded by calling Ayer a “good man” and saying he looks forward to Ayer’s next movie, Ayer continued his defense:
I really appreciate that. Every movie is a labor of love for me. I’ve never chased the audience, and I know my work can be polarizing. I’ve lived a crazy love and I guess my movies reflect that. https://twitter.com/davidehrlich/status/943715810492731393 …
6:00 AM – Dec 21, 2017
50 50 Replies 173 173 Retweets 1,081 1,081 likes
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Ayer certainly has plenty of practice when it comes to weathering bad reviews. In 2016, critics by and large destroyed his Suicide Squad, though in fairness that film’s issues went much deeper than Ayer’s direction. After backlash against the way Suicide Squad depicted the Joker, Ayer himself admitted the character should have been deployed differently. Clearly, Ayer has no problem admitting his mistakes (even if they aren’t entirely his mistakes). He also has no problem going toe-to-toe with critics who have been particularly harsh.
Netflix of course will have their own criteria when it comes to deciding whether their Bright investment was worth it. Reportedly, the streaming service has already ordered up a Bright sequel with Will Smith, so they must be happy with the film Ayer delivered. Who knows if those sequel plans will change after the response to Bright. And how will we truly measure how the audience has reacted to Bright, with no box office returns to read? Only Netflix will really know if Bright succeeded or failed. That gives them an advantage over traditional studios, who are at the mercy of first weekend box office returns. Potential fans can find Bright at their leisure, this week or next month or next year. The old models simply don’t apply when it comes to Netflix.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Bright release date: Dec 22, 2017