Is The Suicide Squad A Box Office Flop? - Comic Years
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Is The Suicide Squad A Box Office Flop?

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BY August 9, 2021

It’s a tough market for films right now. We’re living through a global pandemic and the world has more streaming services than ever, making it a tough decision to head to movie theaters and have a nice night out. Clearly, the box office for almost any film looks drastically different than it would pre-pandemic, but does that mean that we can avoid talking about the numbers? No! The latest film up for conversation is James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, and some people are calling it a box office flop. But we arent’ so sure that it deserves that title.

Starro The Suicide Squad Villain box office flop, James Gunn, DC Comics, John Cena, Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, Harley Quinn, Peacemaker, Bloodsport, Savant, Pete Davidson, Michael Rooker, Starro, Taika Waititi Image via Warner Bros Picture)

Some People Are Calling The Suicide Squad A Box Office Flop

The recently released follow-up to 2016’s Suicide Squad pulled in a modest $26.5 million domestic and a slightly more impressive $42.7 million international, for a worldwide weekend gross of $72.2 million. This is a slight drop from predictions that suggested it would see a $30 million-plus opening. In comparison, another recent comic adaptation, Black Widow, earned $80 million in its first weekend. Its second weekend looked more similar to The Suicide Squad with $26 million. Meanwhile, even Space Jam: A New Legacy broke past the $30 million debut mark by a small amount.

So, why the disappointing numbers? The most obvious answer, as expected, is the pandemic. With the rising concern in the latest variants, movie-goers would feel more safe staying at home. Additionally, the film is R-rated, which usually draw smaller crowds than PG-13 films. While this hasn’t held back some movies, like Deadpool or Joker, it does automatically shrink the number of potential viewers.

Some are hopeful that the film still stands a chance to bring back some of its hefty $185 million budget, especially because of the largely positive reviews. (Speaking of, you can check out our review of The Suicide Squad right here on!) But second-week drops are always common and have been even worse during the pandemic. Black Widow saw the massive drop of -67% on its second weekend, so we aren’t holding out too much hope for this one.

The Suicide Squad Review Thinker Ratcatcher 2 Featured box office flop Image via Warner Bros.

It’s Better Than Suicide Squad, But Is The Money There?

Everything about this film is being compared to its 2016 counterpart, even though it is more of a standalone sequel than a direct one. Suicide Squad ended its box office run with more than $746 million worldwide. $325 million came from the domestic box office. Its debut, which also occurred during the first weekend of August, saw an impressive $133.6 million domestic. It was followed by a -67.4% drop, which is eerily similar to Black Widow‘s. We don’t expect such a high percentage here, since there’s not a huge number to fall down from. But still, a big one is coming.

Suicide Squad fell from grace because of the almost immediate awful reviews. The trailer was phenomenal and was more than enough to get people in seats. But word of mouth spread quickly, and most of us can still remember our ultimate disappointment. This film, if anything, is a breath of fresh air for those who have been disappointed by the latest DCEU films.

scarlett johansson black widow spoiler review premire demographics Image via Marvel Studios.

Is It A Flop Or Not?

Now we get to our final question: Is The Suicide Squad a flop? It’s a tough call to make, especially because of its day-and-date release strategy on HBO Max, where it will be for a month after its release. It’s tough to track that data, but HBO Max (in theory) earns six times this film’s budget each month with 67 million subscribers.  People may be flocking to the streamer in higher numbers, but even that avenue still has some major problems. Notably, international streamers are left out on all of the fun as HBO Max is a US-only service for now. Still, even with the disappointing box office performance, relatively speaking, The Suicide Squad is the highest-grossing R-rated film this year. It’s hard to tell if it flopped, because the math of what makes a success is changing.

Whatever happens next, we’re sure that the film won’t have the easiest time making up its budget. At least not in theaters. Black Widow outperformed The Suicide Squad, and it’s still only at $174 million domestic, $359 million total box office gross. Another recent DCEU release, Birds of Prey, had similar opening weekend numbers with $33 million at the box office. It saw a -48% drop on its following weekend and ended up with a final domestic gross of $84 million (and $201 million worldwide). WB may be lucky to see similar numbers here, but it’s worth mentioning that Birds of Prey cost half of what The Suicide Squad did to make.

Whatever reputation this film earns at the box office doesn’t need to matter, anyway. It still redeemed itself for Suicide Squad, and even the returning cast members are clearly having more fun. (Margot Robbie, we’re looking at you.)

Readers, are you one of the people out there in theater seats trying to avoid letting The Suicide Squad become a flop? Drop your thoughts about the film and its performance in the comments!

Featured image via Warner Bros. Pictures.


Meghan Hale is the kind of movie lover that has a "must watch" that is a mile long... and growing. When she isn't talking about the latest film and television news she is writing one of her many in-process novels, screaming film trivia at anybody who will listen, and working as a mental health care professional. Follow her on Twitter @meghanrhale for some fun theories and live reactions to all things entertainment.


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