The good news for Warner Bros.’ latest DC Comics movie “Suicide Squad” is that it will make a lot of money its opening weekend.
It will likely grab $100 million-plus in the debut (it might be as high as $140 million), which would be a record breaker for August. The current record holder is “Guardians of the Galaxy” with $94.3 million.
But what happens after this weekend will decide if it succeeds or not, and if we go by what happened to the previous DC movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the squad is on shaky ground.
“Batman v Superman” had the highest opening weekend ever for a March release when it took in $166 million in 4,242 theatres but in its second weekend (adding 14 more screens) it nosedived with only $51.3 million. That’s a 69.1% drop in sales.
In an era when film criticism is questioned often, media (plus word of mouth) led to “Batman v Superman” taking in only $872.6 million worldwide.
That would be an astounding figure for most movies, but not enough to consider this hulking blockbuster a success.
“Suicide Squad” is in the same boat. After this weekend, it’s likely to take a dive in sales following bashing by critics (it currently has a 29% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes). But it doesn’t have the lofty goals “BvS” had.
Focusing here on a ragtag group of bad guys who aren’t as iconic to audiences as Batman and Superman, Warner Bros. is looking for the kind of success fellow fringe comic-book character Deadpool had in February, when the movie became that month’s biggest all-time opening with $132.4 million.
“Suicide Squad” can match that kind of success. Warner Bros. is opening the film domestically on 4,200 screens (380 in IMAX, which means a more expensive ticket price). 20th Century Fox released “Deadpool” on 3,558 screens.
But, again, it’s the long game that’s the question mark.
The word of mouth for “Deadpool” was beyond what anyone at Fox expected and it led to the movie earning $782.5 million worldwide. It’s the third highest-grossing movie domestically this year ($363 million). That’s basically unheard of for an R-rated movie.
With “Suicide Squad” rated PG-13 it means there’s more opportunity for larger audiences than “Deadpool” had (added to it appearing on more screens). But that theory only works if the word of mouth is as good, and sadly, that won’t be the case for “Squad.”
“Squad” also comes with a higher price tag, at a $175 million production production, than “Deadpool” ($58 million).
So Warner Bros. is now in the same predicament it was in with “BvS,” trying to muscle as much money as it can out of “Suicide Squad” so as not to have egg on its face for a second time.
If “Squad” hits at least $800 million worldwide it will be considered a success.
One silver lining is that “Squad” is already outpacing “Deadpool” and even “Guardians of the Galaxy” in the overseas markets — at least for now.
But with two films from its DC Comics cinematic universe being slaughtered by critics, Warner Bros. may have more to worry about going forward than box office projections. Reputation, after all, still matters.
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