Now, one of the most unusual things about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's relatively disappointing box office run earlier this year is, as it turns out, the fact that its considered disappointing at all. After all, both its $330 million domestic total and $872 million global haul put it in the top fifty grossing movies of all time, and its $166 million opening weekend currently stands as the eighth best in US box office history. And yet, for several reasons - not least the substantial box office drop-off in its second weekend, Captain America: Civil War outgrossing it at every turn, and the groaning weight of expectation - Batman v Superman is seen as a subtantial disappointment.
With that in mind, then...
How Important Is It That Suicide Squad Is a Box Office Hit?
After all, with a reportedly similarly vast budget to Batman v Superman, and a high profile marketing campaign looming, Suicide Squad isn't exactly the mid-budget Deadpool, where box office expectations were relatively low (and, as it turns out, massively exceeded). In other words? Suicide Squad needs to make a lot of money in order to turn a profit.
What's more, though, a variation of that same weight of expectation that Batman v Superman labored under may well be set to fall on Suicide Squad. While a billion dollar haul is - unlike Batman v Superman - surely not expected, any major wobble at the box office will likely be taken as a similar rejection of the DCEU by the mainstream movie-going audience.
In other words, Suicide Squad probably does need to make good money. The big question that raises, though?
How Much Money Does Suicide Squad Need To Make?
Well, that largely depends on two key things: How large the production budget ends up being, and how much money Warner Bros. feels it needs to spend on marketing. If, as has been suggested in some corners, the film ends up with a $250 million production budget, and subsequently requires upwards of $150 million for global marketing (now standard for a tent-pole picture like Suicide Squad), then there's every chance that the movie is going to need to make a whole lot of money to break even. Y'see, even though those figures may seem to add up to around $400 million (a figure the film should easily reach worldwide, even if it struggles a little), that's not actually the whole story.
After all, a whole lot of a film's publicized box office gross is just that - its gross. There are a whole lot of people to be paid off from that money - from international distributors, to theaters, and beyond - before the studio that made the movie gets its cut. With the net profit for the studio often turning out to be closer to half the overall gross, there's an argument to be made that Suicide Squad may need to make more than $800 million globally in order to turn a conventional profit - something that, even with The Joker on board, may well prove to be a big ask.
Now, merchandising, DVD and other ancillary sales would likely eventually make it profitable with a lower gross (though they'll presumably be lower than for, say, Batman v Superman, which will likely make much of its eventual profit through them), but that would likely be of little comfort to studio executives skeptical of the DCEU's future profitability in the wake of Batman v Superman.
Now, of course, it's also entirely possible that rumors of Suicide Squad's budget have been overstated - and that it in fact only needs to net more like $300 million (and thus, lets say, gross $600 million) in order to turn an initial profit. Either way, though, it proving to be a mid-sized hit (say, somewhere in the range of $500-800 million) may not be enough to assuage doubts about the DCEU as a whole - especially since an ultimate gross on the low end of that spectrum would likely be seen as a failure by journalists and fans alike.
In other words? Suicide Squad doesn't need to match Batman v Superman's $872 million global tally - but it sure would help the DCEU (and Warner Bros.' coffers) if it could get close...
What do you reckon, though?