You might wanna rename Task Force X's murderous boss Amanda Dollar. Why? According to a new report from Bloomberg, Suicide Squad has made a ton more profit during its stellar box office run than its doom-mongering critics predicted.
In general, summer 2016 hasn't been a vintage one at the box office, with various major blockbusters from Star Trek: Beyond to Ghostbusters to Warcraft being added to the long list of movies which performed below expectations and lost money in the process.
Suicide Squad got off to a superb start with a $134m opening weekend stateside, giving the critics a huge FU in the process — but sank in its second weekend, once again sparking the debate over whether the DCEU needs to get critics on its side to make money after the first seven days. Since then, though, box office has been strong, and on Monday Squad crossed $300m domestically, with a global total of $678m as of this week.
The $175m Question: Is Suicide Squad Profitable?
Working out whether a movie is profitable is a pretty rough science, but generally speaking a blockbuster should make at least 3x its production budget (ideally closer to 4x) to offset marketing spend and make some major dollar back for the studio.
Having analyzed the box office performance of several of this summer's blockbusters, Bloomberg claims that Suicide Squad is already highly profitable for Warner Bros. and DC. Check out the graph below to see exactly how Waller's supervillains compare to Marvel's Avengers and Fox's X-Men.
Obviously, these figures really are just estimates — nobody knows how much Warner Bros. spent marketing Suicide Squad, and you'd best believe it was a lot — but even if the margins have room for error, the fact remains that this was a highly profitable movie. When its box office is done, it will have surpassed $700m globally, a return of around 3.5x its initial budget of $175m.
For more box office geekery:
- 2016, Year Of The Box Office Bomb: Who So Many Flop Blockbusters?
- 'Ghostbusters' Box Office Performance Makes A Sequel Unlikely
- How Horror Owned The Box Office During Summer 2016
If there's a lesson to be learned here, though, it's that stronger reviews really could have done even more to push Suicide Squad closer to the enormous profit margins of well-reviewed movies like Captain America: Civil War and Finding Dory. On the other hand, Squad's estimated $175m profit is far beyond the $55m banked by X-Men: Apocalypse, and by any standard that amount of money made is still a major win.
The Justice League Challenge
Looking ahead to Justice League, what can Warner Bros. and DC do to ensure they make the kind of profit Civil War enjoyed this year?
It sounds obvious, but the studio really needs to keep the budget well below the mammoth $250m spent making Batman v Superman. Perhaps more importantly, critics need to get on board with the DCEU. We already know that Justice League will have a more streamlined narrative than Dawn of Justice, and initial reaction to the Comic-Con trailer was overwhelmingly positive. Better reviews and stronger word of mouth will bring more money in, and if Justice League can cross the billion-dollar barrier, DC's loudest critics will be silenced once and for all.
Check out the Civil War blooper reel below, and then tell me...
Will Justice League break the $1bn barrier for DC?