Warner Bros. triumphed over Disney in public sentiment after hiring James Gunn for 'Suicide Squad 2'

Warner Bros.‘Suicide Squad’
  • A social-media analysis from Talkwalker made for Business Insider showed that people had a stronger negative reaction to Disney firing James Gunn from “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” than when Warner Bros. hired him for “Suicide Squad 2.”
  • This is also the first time in over a year that “Suicide Squad” has dominated online conversation more than “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
  • The analysis showed that top social posts related to Gunn and “Suicide Squad” expressed interest in or admiration for the move.

In a bold move, Warner Bros. snagged James Gunn from Marvel last week to write, and possibly direct, its follow-up to the 2016 DC Comics-movie “Suicide Squad.”Disney fired Gunn from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” in July after old offensive tweets from Gunn resurfaced.

And analysis from social-research company Talkwalker suggests public sentiment toward Warner Bros. puts it ahead of Disney in the Gunn controversy.

Talkwalker uses technology to monitor online conversations in real-time. The analysis, made for Business Insider, showed that for the first time in the last 13 months, “Suicide Squad” dominated online conversation more than “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

But was that a bad or good thing?

While Talkwalker found a slight dip in public sentiment for “Suicide Squad” when the Gunn news broke, it was nowhere near the large dip that “Guardians of the Galaxy” saw when Disney fired him.

And a Talkwalker representative said the negative sentiment for “Suicide Squad 2” actually stemmed from posts that questioned Disney’s decision to fire Gunn from “Guardians of the Galaxy” in light of his new gig at Warner Bros. Overall, the online reaction suggested that hiring Gunn has generated a lot of excitement for “Suicide Squad 2,” according to Talkwalker.

In the graph below, the blue line represents “Suicide Squad” while the red line is “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

James gunnTalkwalker

The top five social posts mentioning James Gunn and “Suicide Squad” expressed interest in or admiration for the move. The number one post is below, in which “Guardians of the Galaxy” actor Dave Bautista expressed interest in joining Gunn on “Suicide Squad 2.”

Gunn was beloved by fans for his work on the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, which grossed a combined $US1.6 billion worldwide. But he’ll still have his work cut out for him on “Suicide Squad 2.”

The first “Suicide Squad” was critically panned, and while it grossed $US746 million worldwide, it saw a sharp decline in the weeks following its release in the US. That was bad news for a sequel.

But Warner Bros. has been rethinking its superhero film strategy, and is focusing on standalone stories rather than a shared universe after “Justice League” disappointed at the box office. According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, Gunn’s “Suicide Squad 2” will be a “whole new take” rather than a traditional sequel.

With “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” now on hold, and “Suicide Squad” in the hands of a director like Gunn, Warner Bros. could have struck gold with its latest hire.

Read more of Business Insider’s coverage on James Gunn:

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