This is an exciting week for director David Ayer, whose big DC supervillain team-up movie Suicide Squad is finally arriving in theaters after more than a year of build-up. There’s plenty of hype for the movie, and though the review embargo hasn’t yet lifted, it’s currently tracking to gross $130-140 million in its opening weekend.

However, it seems that Ayer got a little bit carried away while speaking to a gathered audience at the world premiere of Suicide Squad in New York City. As recorded by a member of the audience, the director exclaimed “F*** Marvel!” to a responding chorus of cheers. According to attendee Ramin Setoodeh, a fan in the audience yelled the phrase first, and Ayer repeated it. The director also gave this explanation when he apologized soon afterwards on Twitter.

As we’ve discussed previously, the rivalry between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe is largely generated by the fandom rather than the studios themselves; after all, any success within the superhero movie genre is a positive sign for both studios, and Marvel and Warner Bros. never release their movies in direct competition with one another (the next Marvel release is Doctor Strange in November). Though a lot of fans take the rivalry very seriously, Ayer was probably just acting in good fun when he repeated the fan’s call, and this shouldn’t be interpreted as him having any kind of serious, deep-seated loathing for Marvel.

Both Warner Bros. and Marvel Studios have thus far affected an attitude of polite but detached interest towards one another, with little engagement between the two. If anything, it might help ease tensions if both studios played into the rivalry in a fun, good-natured way – perhaps by planning staged battles between the Marvel and DC actors at Comic-Con (with the option of inviting Vince McMahon to commentate). As it is, apology or no, Ayer’s spur-of-the-moment battle cry could unfortunately prove to be a further wedge between comic book movie fans.

Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016Wonder Woman is slated for release on June 2, 2017; followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018Shazam on April 5, 2019Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020The Flash is currently without a release date.

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