Even after generating a whole lot of hype with stellar reviews from critics, The Suicide Squad failed to meet industry expectations at the box office. No matter how you cut it, an approximately $26.5 million weekend opening is just not good.
While I wasn’t a fan of the first Suicide Squad movie released back in 2016, I was looking forward to watching The Suicide Squad after seeing the high critic score over at Rotten Tomatoes. Also, after Black Widow not meeting my expectations, I was in the mood for another superhero genre flick that could give me the action sequences I wanted. And, frankly, I wanted Warner Bros. to succeed. It’s as if that studio just can’t catch a break when it comes to superhero stuff. They have the entirety of DC Comics to play with but still haven’t figured out what to do with the iconic comic book characters and decades of fan-favorite stories.
As someone who has already watched The Suicide Squad, due to it being available on HBO Max, I would like to share my thoughts. It is a good-looking movie. There are sequences that are well-constructed. However, watching an R-rated film where bad guys do a whole lot of bad stuff can lead to certain taste issues. Also, the plot wasn’t the best and there were a couple of forced plot conveniences that the movie wanted the audience to just go along with in order to raise the stakes.
I do think that a number of factors played a role in The Suicide Squad not performing as expected at the box office. Industry analysts predicted it would open north of $30 million at the domestic box office. But it fell short.
Some are saying that the new variant going around hurt the box office. However, according to Deadline, theatres are still open and Disney’s Jungle Cruise was able to beat opening weekend expectations the previous week. Furthermore, Jungle Cruise only saw a normal 55% drop during the second weekend. If the variant was impacting theatre-going patterns, then it is safe to assume Jungle Cruise should have seen a bigger second-weekend drop. As of now, Jungle Cruise has grossed more than $120 million globally. Dwayne Johnson has mentioned plans for a sequel on his social media accounts.
Some people are saying the movie’s availability on HBO Max decreased box office gains. However, if you look at the global market (HBO Max is not available in every country), The Suicide Squad has grossed approximately $45 million, again not meeting the expectations some analysts had.
In my opinion, the biggest reason for such low performance is the fact that people aren’t interested in The Suicide Squad as a brand. The first movie from David Ayer wasn’t universally beloved. And even though the latest installment isn’t supposed to be a direct sequel, it’s still part of the same franchise. Films focusing on bad guys doing bad stuff likely have a very niche audience. While the Deadpool series is also R-rated and has crude jokes along with a lot of gore and violence, the audience knows that Deadpool is one of the good guys. The same goes for the John Wick series.
In contrast, The Suicide Squad had an extended action sequence where the team decided to ambush and kill innocent (in context) resistance fighters with Bloodsport and Peacemaker competing over who exhibits the most gruesome kills. There are no repercussions for the team’s actions and everything is played off as a joke. There’s also animal brutality involved. So, as I said, it’s an issue of taste when it comes to such a brand.
Which factors are to blame for The Suicide Squad‘s box office performance will continue to be debated over on Twitter. Similar to YouTuber and movie critic Grace Randolph, I’m also waiting to see how Ryan Reynolds’s Free Guy will do. The upcoming movie will get a sole theatrical release on August 13, 2021. Now, that film’s performance will give us a better understanding of how many people are currently willing to visit theatres to watch a major film if a simultaneous digital release (paid or free) isn’t involved.
For those wondering about the future of DC superhero films from Warner Bros. in 2022, we have The Batman, Black Adam, The Flash, and Aquaman 2. Let’s see which of these titles gives Warner Bros. a definite win.
As of writing this, The Suicide Squad has grossed approximately $72 million in total box office against a reported production budget of $185 million. For some reason, a live-action series starring Peacemaker (John Cena) will be released on HBO Max come January of 2022, written and directed by James Gunn. Let’s see if it also ends up experiencing a taste issue or could help revitalize The Suicide Squad brand.
Have you watched The Suicide Squad 2? What did you think of it?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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