The DC Cinematic Universe is likely going to live or die this weekend, based on the performance of the hotly anticipated Suicide Squad. After the terminal underperformance of Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (which was expected to easily hit $1B+ and kickstart the DC universe) all eyes turned to Suicide Squad, the third installment in the DC Extended Universe. Many fans are thinking that the films eccentric premise and advertising will lead it to be a massive success, and there’s plenty of reasons why it could – or could not – end up breaking the August opening weekend record, currently held by Guardians of the Galaxy.
Speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s more than a few comparisons to be made between the two films. Firstly, they’re both ensemble teams of unlikely heroes banding together to stop some sort of villian, including marketing which heavily features humor and nostalgiac music. Additionally, both films are being released in the first weekend of August. That release date could really end up helping Suicide Squad, as outside of a few major key releases, the summer has been very slow in terms of PG-13 blockbusters, with only Captain America: Civil War able to crack the century mark in its opening weekend. Compare that to 2015, where there was Avengers: Age of Ultron, Minions, Jurassic World, and Furious 7 (debatably a summer release but you get the idea). 2014’s slow summer ended up boosting Guardians of the Galaxy to much higher than expected results, and it’s clear that Warner Bros. is hoping for the same. Unfortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy had over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, while Suicide Squad currently sits at 29%. This will undoubtedly turn off many mainstream audiences.
So how high will the film open, realisitically? Well, Guardians of the Galaxy opened to around $101 million with inflation, which seems like a good comparison to Suicide Squad. While expectations have shot up to the $145M+ range, that’s most likely a case of Civil War syndrome, in which expectations for a hotly anticipated blockbuster shot up in the weeks before release, most of which was due to fan anticipation and not legitimate box office analysis. Another problem is the films tone and clearly not family friendly content; while Guardians was a fun, exciting sci-fi adventure for pretty much anyone, Suicide Squad has a darker tone, much more violence, the word “suicide” in the title (which will unquestionably turn off some parents) and the non-subtle sexualization of Harley Quinn, which hasn’t really been hidden in the marketing. All of these things are going to take away a key audience from Suicide Squad, as the potential R rated audience that Deadpool pulled in was pushed aside in favor of a PG-13. Whether or not that will work is yet to be seen.
Despite me meddling on for seven centuries about Suicide Squad, there are in fact other films opening this weekend. Kevin Spacey stars in the head scratching Nine Lives, a film about a father who gets turned into a cat via Christopher Walken, yet many have commented that the film has the production quality of a direct to DVD film from the early 2000’s, and doesn’t look like something that should be opening in over 2,000 theaters. There’s not exactly a ton of comparisons in terms of talking-cat-played-by-Kevin-Spacey market, but it looks like the film will open with around $5 million.
Bar for Success
Considering how much of the DC Universe is riding on this films success, Suicide Squad really needs to hit over $100 million this weekend to get a pass, while Nine Lives is fine at $10 million.
- Suicide Squad – $112M
- Jason Bourne – $25M
- Bad Moms – $14M
- Star Trek Beyond – $11M
- The Secret Life of Pets – $9M
Nine Lives – $4M