So far, 2021 is not looking too good for comic book films. “The Suicide Squad,” which released domestically on Aug. 6, made $26.2 million on opening weekend when projections estimated $30 million.
It’s clear that sale wise this “sequel” did not live up to its expectations. David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad,” despite negative reviews, earned an astounding $133.7 million during its opening weekend in North America alone back in 2016. There are multiple factors that contributed to why this movie did poorly in comparison to its predecessor. The biggest reason being the concerns about the Delta variant, and covid cases rising once again all over the country. The movie, like many others, was also released simultaneously on HBO Max, for people to watch at home. HBO Max has not released the movies’ streaming numbers yet. Knowing these numbers would help us truly determine whether or not the movie flopped. A perfect example is ‘Black Widow’ which made an additional $60 million on Disney+ in addition to its box office earnings. Either way, people just don’t think it’s worth compromising their health to go to the movies right now and would rather watch films through the comfort and safety of their home.
Another reason is that this remake was missing key actors that really made people want to see the film. Will Smith (“Deadshot”) and Jared Leto (“The Joker”) were marquee actors in the first film, but were not casted in the remake. Smith had scheduling conflicts while Leto didn’t return because the director, James Gunn, felt like The Joker wasn’t needed. He stated in an interview, “I wanted it to be its own thing completely… I just don’t know why Joker would be in the Suicide Squad. He wouldn’t be helpful in that type of war situation.” However, Gunn did bring back Margot Robbie as fan-favorite Harley Quinn and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.
Many 2021 releases outsold ‘The Suicide Squad’ in their domestic opening weekend including “Jungle Cruise” ($35 million), “Black Widow” ($80 million), and “Cruella” ($26.5 million). However, even those movies didn’t reach their maximum potential in box office sales either. Pre-pandemic, a $30 million opening weekend would be considered a massive fail, but given the times we are in, box office standards might have to readjust. It also had the second lowest debut of the entire DCEU franchise only surpassing “Wonder Woman 1984,” which was also a pandemic release.
Despite low box office numbers, the movie received a positive reaction from critics which did not happen for the 2016 version. It has a 91% from critics ratings out of 304 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, a 73 out of 100 on Metacritic, and a 7.5/10 rating on IMDb. Many reviews applaud the film for being wild with its incorporation of action, violence and gore while also being funny and entertaining. Hopefully these positive reviews will encourage people to give the movie a chance.
You can watch “The Suicide Squad” in theaters or on HBO Max with a subscription until Sept. 5.