Suicide Squad is the talk of the movie world after its massive opening weekend to less than stellar reviews. Negative leaning critics have been shredded by fans who even petitioned to have Rotten Tomatoes shut down over what they deemed were unfair ratings. The discord has been felt across the board, yet despite a decline in Saturday sales, Suicide Squad still dominated the box office with the biggest August opening ever and the 19th biggest opening weekend of all time.
How much of the poor critical reception can be attributed to studio interference in the final cut? No one knows for sure, but director David Ayer is adamant that there's no need for a director's cut because what landed in theaters is what he considers his cut. While the director is happy with the film, Jared Leto thinks his much hyped Joker was extensively edited out.
Suicide Squad's $135.1M opening eclipses previous record holder, Guardians of the Galaxy, by over $40M. Elsewhere around the world, the film has pulled in another $132M, pushing the total so far upwards of $267M. Numbers that are impressive despite the lack of presence in the Chinese market. In addition to reporting the numbers, Variety spoke with the executive VP of Warner Bros. distribution. On Suicide Squad, Jeff Goldstein said:
“It bested anything that we could have expected. The marketing campaign was brilliant and the performances by the cast, starting with Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto, were just extraordinary. They’re fun and wicked and fans enjoy it.”
Goldstein is right about one thing: the Suicide Squad marketing machine was operating at full throttle and those efforts certainly paid off. Regardless of whether or not Suicide Squad could be considered a critical success, opening weekend alone has earned almost enough to cover the film's $175M budget.
Citing a "major disconnect between what the critics are saying and what audiences are seeing,” Goldstein seems to imply that WB, while in the movie business to make money, is also more interested in pleasing its fanbase than the critics. Suicide Squad is not the "savior" of the DCEU, but it shows that Warner Bros. is trying different things to find the coveted sweet spot. With its upcoming slate of films, let's hope they find it quickly.
Suicide Squad is in theaters now. Wonder Woman opens 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.