Earlier this year, the DC Extended Universe truly kicked off with the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film proved to be very polarizing, dividing opinions of critics and fans. It got to the point where people couldn't determine whether or not the movie could qualify as a box office success, since its $872.6 million worldwide total was below the $1 billion hopes of Warner Bros. In the end, Batman V Superman proved to be profitable, but not as much as its predecessor Man of Steel, despite featuring three of the most iconic superheroes in pop culture.
In the aftermath of the Dawn of Justice response, it became clear that the DCEU was in desperate need of a bona fide hit in order to get things back on track and rebuild the forward momentum. Many had pegged David Ayer's Suicide Squad to be the savior thanks to an excellent marketing campaign that sold viewers on the collection of colorful characters and irreverent sense of fun. Unfortunately, the reviews for Suicide Squad are mostly negative as well, with several pundits saying a great cast is wasted by a messy story - perhaps the result of studio interference. Still, the movie remains poised to be an unbridled commercial success, with August box office records expected to fall.
Throughout the summer, Suicide Squad was a hot talking point on social media, and the film was the most-buzzed about production of 2016. Even though many of the characters featured in the movie were relative unknowns to casual audiences, the large amounts of interest suggested that Suicide Squad could end up topping Batman V Superman's haul. Some projections have it pegged for $140 million in its first three days, so it's worth wondering if Suicide Squad can make more in its opening weekend than Batman V Superman did.
Zack Snyder's superhero epic set a new March high with $166 million domestically when it came out over Easter weekend, good enough for the fourth-largest debut of all-time. That gives Suicide Squad quite the bar to clear, especially given that the highest estimates still have it at least $26 million behind those numbers. If it was the critically acclaimed tentpole that fans had been waiting for, then Suicide Squad might have had a decent shot to reach that level. Yes, the film has broken August records for Fandango pre-sales, but it's worth mentioning that Batman V Superman accomplished that feat for the entire superhero genre and couldn't hit the elusive $200 million opening weekend. Word-of-mouth matters in this day and age.
A better comparison for Suicide Squad would arguably be Deadpool, which made a February record $132.4 million when it came out. Like the Worst. Heroes. Ever., Wade Wilson was at one point a niche property, elevated to A-list status through catchy promotional materials. There's an obvious difference in overall reception between those two projects, but Suicide Squad's tracking is closer to Deadpool than anything else. One would think that Suicide Squad, with the benefit of a more-inclusive PG-13 rating and 3D premiums, should have no problems clearly the R-rated action/comedy, but it remains to be seen how the negative Suicide Squad reviews will influence ticket sales. Recent projections indicate something in the $133 million range, which seems realistic considering the circumstances.
The good news for WB is that Suicide Squad should turn a nice profit. Its $175 million production budget is considerably lower than Batman V Superman's $250 million, and it will likely recoup those costs in a single weekend when international figures are factored in. Odds are, the villains and antiheroes won't be able to beat the founding members of the Justice League in their respective opening weekends, but it will still be a sizable hit. In what's been an up-and-down year for the DCEU, that's a welcomed development.
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.
Source: Box Office