There's been a lot of talk about Suicide Squad. Some have said it was a victory for DC, others have disagreed. For a film that wasn't released in the second largest market in the world, it was panned by critics worldwide and embroiled in constant controversy, DC's Suicide Squad sure did earn (and then some). Raking in more than $700 million worldwide and around $400 million domestically, this supervillain gang-up team continued to defy odds with its mind boggling numbers. Against all probability, the $125 million budget film broke record after record, becoming the biggest blockbuster to be released in August ever. It's already beaten Iron Man and Captain America 2 — two big names from DC opponent Marvel — and recently outgrossed Deadpool internationally.
So what was the secret behind the squad? How did it manage to blow up its competition (and its critics)?
Here are five reasons why Suicide Squad was such a success:
1. Killer Marketing
From TV spots, internet teasers, interviews and trailers, the Squad was well and truly represented. With so much talk about the movie and its characters, everyone knew what the movie was about months before its release. In fact, the film continued to dominate every social media platform at the time of its premiere. Tales of Jared Leto's Joker-ish antics, pictures of the squad getting tattoos, and interviews with the cast about the stunts and set secrets were blowing up the internet, making people really excited for the film.
Despite the film receiving negative reviews, even I (a hardcore DC fan) thought it was just average (see my Suicide Squad review here); yet the Squad continued to trend everywhere. Call it the "Fifty Shades" phenomenon or the old "any publicity is good publicity" rule, but the more buzz was generated about the movie (good or bad), the more money it made. This trick has worked numerous times before: Miley Cyrus's crazy antics while promoting her "grown up" songs, Fifty Shades of Grey shooting to best seller lists after receiving so much backlash, and the launch Kim Kardashian's career.
Regardless of whether or not you agreed with David Ayer's vision for the team, liked Harley Quinn's costume or not, got pissed at the shortage of screen time for Joker and others (read: Slipknot), you sure did talk about it! And so Suicide Squad remained ever present in the cinema sphere.
You'll be surprised at how much a good soundtrack can promote a movie. I still haven't bothered watching Titanic, but I can sing "My Heart Will Go On" on any given day. Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey had very successful soundtrack albums. Even Hunger Games used Taylor Swift's "Safe and Sound" to appeal to music lovers when launching the franchise. Despite the Squad's singles not peaking as highly as the songs from Fifty Shades, the album did become the most streamed album off all time on Spotify and became the first soundtrack album this year to hit gold.
4. August Affair
It's a well known fact that any movie that comes out in August will have an edge. Why? Because there's literally nothing else to see for quite some time. Guardians of the Galaxy would not have performed as well had it opened in any other month or had faced competition by another superhero franchise. Opening in August works really well for entities that aren't very well known to everyday folk, That's why both DC and Marvel use August to release movies based on lesser-known characters. Strange how the time when we least go to cinema can be the most profitable. Keep that in mind when Justice League releases next November.
5. Good Word Of Mouth
An important factor to consider is fan reaction and despite what the critics said, the fans really liked the film. Suicide Squad was much more warmly received than Batman vs. Superman and a large amount of people who normally don't go to see such films did, possibly because it had the right balance of connectivity with the rest of the DC Extended Universe. It was a treat for many to see lesser-known DC properties finally appear on the big screen. Cult favorites like Killer Croc, Katana, El Diablo, and popular figures like Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn and Deadshot were all finally seeing the light of day.
The new Joker Jared Leto's polarizing performance, coupled with that of Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Viola Davis proved to be quite a treat for fans. DC tried to offer something new with its first super-villain team-up movie, and fans new and old really ate it up. It also didn't hurt that antiheroes are all the rage these days, and Suicide Squad had quite a collection to choose from.
So that's it, five main reasons for why 2016's Suicide Squad is the hit it was. It's vital to remember that before the failure of BvS, DC hadn't put too much pressure on the success of Suicide Squad, and while it didn't win many (or any) critics, it conclusively showed that when it was the Squad against the world, The Squad easily won.
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Planning a Suicide Squad themed Halloween costume this year? You can perfect the Joker's and Harley's makeup in the video tutorials below:
What did you love (or hate) about Suicide Squad?