David Ayer's film "The Beekeeper" is performing well at the box office, earning $41.6 million worldwide in its opening weekend.
Despite having a unique and unconventional title, the film is attracting audiences and receiving positive reviews from both critics and viewers.
This success is a much-deserved comeback for Ayer, who faced criticism and backlash for his previous film, "Suicide Squad," and subsequent disappointment with "Bright."
David Ayer’s The Beekeeper, starring Jason Statham, might have one of the weirdest names of all time, but it’s doing the business in cinemas around the globe right now. The glorious action film cost just $34 million to produce and already made $41.6 million worldwide in its opening weekend. Considering it isn’t a massive franchise but a brand-new property with a title that sounds like a National Geographic show, this is nothing to sniff at. Additionally, the audience and critics are relatively unified in calling it a fun time at the movies, and one that makes full use of the power of Stathamania.
More importantly, this is the success that Ayer deserves after the past few years of heartache and social media misery. Not only did the filmmaker receive a lot of flak for the misfire of 2016’s Suicide Squad, but his other efforts also failed to hit the mark. Now, this is a return to glory for someone whose talent should have never been in question in the first place.
Warner Bros. doing Warner Bros. things
David Ayer made a name for himself in Hollywood thanks to his writing work on Training Day, The Fast and the Furious, and S.W.A.T. His talent for action-centric and high-intensity stories didn’t go unnoticed and he transitioned into directing, delivering a powerful triple threat of films within two years (End of Watch, Sabotage, and Fury). Due to his bold storytelling style and filmmaking flair, it made him a natural fit for Suicide Squad, which centres around a ragtag team of supervillains being forced to work together. However, the movie he signed up to make wasn’t the one that Warner Bros. and DC wanted to go ahead with after the lacklustre response to Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
It’s pointless to rehash all the details here since the story has been covered ad nauseum for eight years now. The bottom line is the studio decided to release its own cut of Suicide Squad, while Ayer claimed his version was better. He’s probably right as well since executives know about as much about movies as politicians know about compassion and humanity. Unfortunately, Ayer received the backlash for it, as the cowardly executives kept quiet and let the filmmaker catch the heat for their questionable choices. Despite Ayer calling for the release of his cut of the film, much like Snyder received for Justice League, it appears as if it might never happen.
A year after Suicide Squad, David Ayer returned with Bright – a sci-fi buddy cop movie which stars Will Smith as LAPD officer Daryl Ward and Joel Edgerton as his orc partner Nick Jakoby. Bright received a critical drubbing and reviewers couldn’t help but point back to Ayer’s previous film, Suicide Squad, and question his filmmaking abilities. At the same time, the general sentiment around Bright wasn’t helped after the horrifying allegations against the film’s writer Max Landis went wide, tainting everything he was associated with as a result.
After these back-to-back disappointments, Ayer formed his own studio, Cedar Park Entertainment, with Chris Long. The first film produced was 2020’s The Tax Collector, which stars Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto. It was a story that took Ayer back to his roots of gritty crime-ridden action flicks, but it failed to make a major splash. Critics and fans didn’t get behind it, and LaBeouf was even nominated for a Razzie for his performance.
If anyone follows David Ayer on social media, one thing is obvious: He holds a positive outlook on life and doesn’t let the negativity get to him. It’s impossible to not root for him, especially as he refuses to retaliate to some of the ugliest parts of fandom that come for him on a daily basis. After all the endless mocking and memes at his expense for eight years, Ayer never gave up. What he did was continue to do what he does best and prove he is a talent who deserves his spot in Hollywood.
The Beekeeper isn’t Taxi Driver or Titanic, but if anyone expected it to be that, well, it’s time to stop pouring bleach over the cereal every morning. It is a film that holds immense franchise potential, possibly becoming the next John Wick or Transporter series. Ayer took Kurt Wimmer’s script and brought it to life in a way that creates a visceral world and compelling characters the audience wants to know more about. There’s the chance to do more and all signs point to it happening.
It’s ironic how one of the silliest-named movies ever is Ayer’s redemption story, especially after all the memes and jokes surrounding Suicide Squad. Maybe it’s the universe’s sense of humour at play here. Regardless, it’s nothing less than he deserves after all the years of being Hollywood’s punching bag. Now it’s time for everyone to put some respect on his name.
Sergio Pereira is a prolific and recognised journalist and writer from Johannesburg, South Africa. His expertise encompasses the topics of comic books, film, television, and video games. For over 16 years, he has built up his reputation and knowledge in entertainment journalism by writing for and learning from the world's largest publications.
Sergio is also an accredited Rotten Tomatoes reviewer and has interviewed numerous celebrities, such as Andy Serkis, Ben Barnes, Idris Elba, Letitia Wright and Frank Miller. He is the author of the highly rated fantasy comedy novel The Not-So-Grim Reaper and numerous short stories. In addition, he is the co-writer of the South African crime drama film The Lifesaver. As a regular columnist, he contributes to Looper, Grunge, Screen Rant, Ranker, CBR, SYFY WIRE, IGN Africa, Thought Catalog and Fortress of Solitude.
For Sergio, all he wants in life is to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eclipse the Justice League as the greatest heroes of all time. Then, he will sleep peacefully.