ByElise Jost, writer at
"It's a UNIX system! I know this!" Twitter @elisejost
Elise Jost

Until recently, the biggest divide in the comic book world was because of the feud between Marvel and DC, fans of each publishing giant reveling in the use of choice words to call out those they deemed on the wrong side of the rift. With the DCEU's second installment, however, the biggest conflict seems to be taking place between critics and comic book fans, the latter accusing the former of not knowing the source material well enough to judge of the quality of a movie adaptation.

And it seems like fans were right — or weren't they? Suicide Squad, which was drowned in vitriolic reviews when the embargo was lifted by Warner Bros. just after the premiere, enjoyed a record breaking opening this weekend. But what if that first wave had just been about wanting to prove the critics wrong? If the second weekend drop turns out to be as sharp as estimated, it could be that audiences are deciding for themselves that Suicide Squad is actually not that good, and word-of-mouth is doing the rest.

Suicide Squad Is Breaking Records!

Dr. Harleen Quinzel and the Joker in 'Suicide Squad' / Warner Bros.
Dr. Harleen Quinzel and the Joker in 'Suicide Squad' / Warner Bros.

Let’s talk about the good stuff first: Suicide Squad opened to a whopping $135.1 million domestically, breaking the record for best August opening weekend ever, far ahead of the $94.3 million collected by Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. For comparison, Fox's Deadpool, which has been celebrated as basically smashing ever box office record ever when it opened back in February, brought in $152.2 million, and the much-discussed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice totaled $166 million in March.

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The Friday-Saturday Drop And The Second Weekend Estimates Could Affect Suicide Squad's Performance

Harley Quinn and the Joker in 'Suicide Squad' / Warner Bros.
Harley Quinn and the Joker in 'Suicide Squad' / Warner Bros.

Can we pop the champagne yet? Not so fast: There's a big "but" looming on the horizon, based on the estimates for Suicide Squad's second weekend gross. For now, they stand at a 65% drop or more — that's in the range of Batman v Superman, which experienced a massive 69.1% drop between its first and second weekend. Overall, the evolution of Batman v Superman's performance from opening to total equaled a 1.99 multiplier, and that earned it the not-so-shiny crown of worst multiplier ever for a movie with a $100+ million opening. That's why headlines insisted it was a failure for Warner Bros, leading to the confusion of some, considering it had a more than respectable start. In the end, its first weekend raised expectations that weren't met and the movie made money, but nearly not as much as it should have.

And the forecast looks even stormier for Suicide Squad: While Batman v Superman dropped by 37.9% from its first Friday to Saturday, and 33.3% from Saturday to Sunday, the (estimated) figures for Suicide Squad show a 40.6% drop between the first two days, followed by a 20% drop. That's a heavy change of current in the tidal wave of moviegoers — for comparison, Guardians only dropped by 18.1% and then 17.8% from one day to the other during its first weekend.

Did Suicide Squad Actually Strangely Benefit From Negative Reviews At First?

Katana in 'Suicide Squad' / Warner Bros.
Katana in 'Suicide Squad' / Warner Bros.

Does that mean we can see a link between critic scores and box office drops? It doesn't seem like a coincidence that the movies with the biggest post-opening drop, Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman, respectively earned 28% and 27% on Rotten Tomatoes when Guardians boasts a fresh score of 91%. Could it be, just maybe, that the critic consensus is not so bad an indicator of the quality of the movie?

But what's most interesting about Suicide Squad's opening is that it seems like the bad reviews actually helped it soar to the top — at least for now. As a sort of big f-you to the critics, fans rushed to the theaters to prove them wrong, understandably wanting the movie to succeed. Once they'd gotten that little revenge past them, though, it looks like they didn't like the movie enough to recommend it to all their friends. It's also proof that tentpoles like these need much more attendance than just the hardcore comic book fans to make bank, and if the movie's too much of a mess, those who can't rely on their existing love for the characters to get the excitement going won't really be drawn into the DCEU.

Of course, we'll have to see what next weekend actually holds, but the combination of a smashing opening and a sharp drop make it quite a confusing start for Suicide Squad, and not the ideal one that the overall number could make you think it was.

Maybe you'll like this Suicide SquadFriends mashup better?

What do you think of Suicide Squad? Are you going to watch it?

[Source: Box Office Mojo]


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