Suicide Squad, DC Comic’s summer blockbuster hopeful, opened to mixed – and some even scathing – reviews, but they don’t seem to be hurting the initial box office figures as it opens overseas. With all the negative buzz however, will the film fulfill DC’s hopes for a big hit?
According to Variety, the film, based on the DC Comics title of the same name, garnered $8.1 million on its opening day yesterday from a total of seven international markets. In South Korea alone, Suicide Squad earned $2.9 in one day, followed by $2.7 million from French screenings. Over its opening weekend, Suicide Squad is expected to bring in over $100 million from 57 international markets.
Suicide Squad premiered in New York City on August 1 and will go into widespread release across the U.S. on August 5. In the United States, its opening is expected to earn upwards of $125 million, a figure that would set a new record for August premieres.
Suicide Squad, from the Warner Bros. studios, was directed by David Ayer and cost about $175 million to make. That’s not counting the millions more that has been spent on promotions and distribution of the film across its global markets.
‘Suicide Squad’ – The Film And Its Controversies
In the DC Comics universe, the Suicide Squad is a group of convicted criminals brought to justice by Batman. They are enlisted by a shady government operative by the name of Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis) to undertake ultra-risky missions in return for better terms or a reduction in their respective sentences.
Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, the demented former girlfriend of The Joker (Jared Leto) and a fan favorite, along with Will Smith as Deadshot, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc. The supervillains are no ordinary criminals, each possessing a particular skill. Ben Affleck resumes his cape as Batman in occasional appearances throughout the story.
Despite the upbeat box office numbers, Suicide Squad has suffered from bad to dismal word-of-mouth and bad reviews. There were rumors from the set of a troubled production. Warner Bros. executives were said to be concerned about the overly dark tone of what is an unabashedly black comedy/action film.
Suicide Squad is currently ranking a middling 7.6 on IMDb.com, but that drops to a mere 29 percent or 4.8 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes. At the same time – and illustrating the mixed nature of the reaction – 97 percent of Rotten Tomato users say they want to see the movie.
Suicide Squad‘s low Rotten Tomatoes rating sparked a reaction from DC Comics fans, who started a petition, accusing Rotten Tomatoes of bias and demanding the site be shut down. According to Reuters, more than 17,000 people had signed on to the Change.org petition by Wednesday, but the originator, an Egyptian student, shut it down after it became a lightning rod for controversy.
The film’s stars, including model/actress Cara Delevingne, who plays the enticing villain The Enchantress in the movie, and Will Smith, went to the media in defense of the film, saying that fans were the ultimate judge. Smith spoke to Reuters reporters.
“I think people had expectations that may have been different, but I’m excited for the fans to get to vote.”
Some critics have complained that it contains too many characters at 10, and some have criticized the role of Harley Quinn in particular, the lethally insane former psychiatrist in a skin baring outfit and blond pigtails.
‘Suicide Squad’ – Blockbuster Hopes
So far, Suicide Squad‘s opening box office figures have beaten earlier blockbusters like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool.
As a piece in Vanity Fair notes, however, Batman v Superman, this year’s other huge DC Comics-based film release, also garnered big box office dollars in its opening weekend, only to see its earnings drop significantly by the second week as similarly bad reviews spread.
Industry insiders generally agree that if DC is to create an interconnected movie universe that will fuel multiple branches and future franchises – a la Marvel and its successful Avengers series – Suicide Squad needs to be a bonafide hit, and that means making $1 billion or more.
[Image via DC Comics]