Ever since it was revealed that Zack Snyder’s followup to Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, would essentially be the launchpad for an entire DC Comics Extended Universe, the film was put under the pressure of measuring up not only to other superhero films, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. When Batman V Superman opened to a less than favorable response from critics (to put it lightly), speculation about the DCEU began to grow and the pressure of the universe’s future was shifted to David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.
However, although early reactions to Suicide Squad were incredibly positive – and the buzz built by the film’s trailers and posters had been some of the highest of the year – Ayer’s villain team-up was met with a largely negative response from critics once the embargo lifted earlier this week. Still, Suicide Squad is tracking for a successful domestic box office opening, and is expected to break August release records. Now, though, it seems Suicide Squad’s overall box office may not be bolstered by the Chinese market.
THR is reporting Suicide Squad is unlikely to be released in China, with sources saying the film hasn’t been put on the release schedule of China Film Group, the distributor that manages the import of foreign movies; release dates on this schedule are usually planned out at least two months in advance. One Chinese executive simply said, “They think this is not a good film to release in China.”
Suicide Squad isn’t the first superhero movie of 2016 to not be released in China; earlier this year Deadpool was banned due to its R-rated content – and the film went on to still break box office records, both for 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise and R-rated movies. According to THR’s report, Chinese DC Comics fans hoped that Suicide Squad’s PG-13 rating and local-language title, Special Task Force X, would help the film pass through China’s media regulator.
Currently, Suicide Squad is tracking for a $133 million opening weekend box office, while the film’s production cost is estimated to be $175 million. Additionally, Ayer’s villain team-up has already earned $8.1 million in seven international markets (all of which are smaller than the U.S. and China) and it has reportedly broken August records for Fandango pre-sale tickets. Still, while it seems Suicide Squad is on track to earn back its price tag and then some – perhaps becoming a financial success for Warner Bros – the current conversation surrounding the film largely has to do with its negative reviews.
Ayer himself has responded to the reviews, with cast members Cara Delevingne (June Moon/Enchantress) and Will Smith (Floyd Lawton/Deadshot) also offering their take on the critics. Additionally, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and comic book super fan Kevin Smith have chimed in with praise for Suicide Squad. But, reports of conflict behind the scenes of the film and now the lack of release in China may color some moviegoers’ opinions of the latest DCEU entry even before seeing it. That said, with Suicide Squad officially releasing in the U.S. soon, the movie could still prove to be a hit at the box office and with fans.
Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash and Batman solo movie are currently without release dates.