Suicide Squad – Hot Now, Dead Later
By John Hamann
August 7, 2016
Personally, I would have thrown out the Batman v Superman model for Suicide Squad, easing up up on the darkness and raising the level of language so that it had more of a Deadpool tone. Repeating the look of Batman v Superman didn’t help critically. David Ayers basically recreated the Zack Snyder model (dark and nonsensical). Reviews were again terrible, coming in at an ugly 26% fresh, with top critics at Rotten Tomatoes liking it even less at 20%. Will Warner Bros. get my $15 bucks? Not theatrically, no way. I hate paying for something that just pisses me off.
The best news for Warner Bros. is that Suicide Squad cost $75 million less than Batman v Superman, so the pressure to earn top dollar will be less. With a cost of $175 million, Suicide Squad is going to need $525 million worldwide for Warner Bros. to see a profit, a much easier figure to beat than BvS’s $750 worldwide need, due to its much higher $250 million production cost. Unlike Batman though, Suicide Squad likely won’t see $300 million domestic, so it will need about $250 million overseas to see a profit. All of this won’t be a problem for the studio – they likely have a financial winner.
The problem Warner Bros. has (again) is that this is another nail in coffin of the WB/DC comic universe.
Eventually, Warner Bros.’s insistence on issuing crap will catch up with them - it’s just a matter of when. Wonder Woman will likely be okay (they need a good film to save the franchise, though), but if Justice League is the same pile of crap, eventually Warner Bros. is going to feel it in the pocket book. While this is a great start for Suicide Squad, the pain is coming – and that will be the story much longer than this opening weekend is.
Let’s say that Suicide Squad was embraced by fans and critics alike. With an opening like this, it would be on its way to $400 million domestic with no problem and would earn a lot more than that overseas. It would have also opened the door for some very big sequels, and if the sequel was good, it would easily be a billion dollar earner. Instead, this version of Suicide Squad will be lucky to hit $600 million worldwide, and if the expected sequel is just as bad as the original, it will lose money, as the cost will be higher due to demands from the cast. By releasing a bad movie like this, Warner Bros. could be leaving a billion dollars on the table, just because they fail heavily at Quality Control.
If there is good news for Suicide Squad it comes with the Cinemascore, which came in at a B+, better than Batman v Superman. One could argue that a ton of advance ticket buying, DC fanboys would have been filling out the surveys, which could have helped its score. It doesn’t reach the heights of The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, which both earned A’s, or even Man of Steel which earned an A-. That Cinemascore tells me we will see a 65-70% drop next weekend when Sausage Party and Pete’s Dragon open, taking some of the demo away.