There was a time when a new superhero film only came once in a blue moon. They have now grown so prolific that each year seems to bring even bigger surprises in content and box office success than the last. Naysayers have predicted the bubble would burst, but the question of the moment seems to be more about when superhero movie production will plateau. Beginning in 2017, Marvel Studios will release three films a year instead of two. Warner Bros' Man of Steel released three years ago, but their next two efforts - Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad - hit rapid fire in 2016. Moving onward they plan to release two major DC films per year.
Perhaps this rapid proliferation of super-content explains why the odd ducks of the genre are doing so well. The relatively micro-budgeted anti-hero vessel, Deadpool set box office records for the month of February, R-rated films, and the entire 20th Century Fox X-Men series. Suicide Squad, built around a team of minor DC villains, is making similar waves in its own shared universe.
ComicBook.com has tabulated that Suicide Squad is poised to dethrone Superman's own domestic box office take. Man of Steel ended its run with $291M ($668M worldwide). Suicide Squad is set to total $300M domestic by the end of the this Labor Day weekend, and should overtake Man of Steel's domestic pull tonight.
Anticipated to end its run at around $310M domestic, DC's band of misfits have certainly made a name for themselves, especially in light of a largely negative critical reception. Much of the film's draw came from a jovial advertising campaign, and much-praised performances from Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis. It also hasn't hurt that, as a late summer release, the film has had virtually no tentpole competition in the weeks following its release.
If there's any takeaway from the success of Suicide Squad, it's that there is no formula to creating a successful superhero film. Hopefully, this will inspire upcoming tentpole features (super and otherwise) to take more risks with their styles and protagonists, bucking trends and keeping audiences pleasantly on their toes.
Man of Steel is now available in digital, Blu-ray, and DVD formats.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters. Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017, followed by 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, The Batman solo movie, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.