Disappointing The Suicide Squad box office debut is not a good look for the DCEU

The R-rated film did relatively well given the current pandemic situation, but it's still an underwhelming box office performance.


The DC Extended Universe, otherwise more commonly known as the DCEU, hasn't exactly had the most successful run, especially when compared to its Disney counterpart, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Suicide Squad performed well below expectations in both the national and global box office.

If you take a look at the list of the highest-grossing superhero films, the only DCEU movie in the Top 10 is 2018's Aquaman, which stars Jason Mamoa as the titular DC superhero, with a worldwide lifetime gross of $1,148,161,807. The rest of the list is populated mostly by MCU films, including the top spot, which is held by 2019's Avengers: Endgame, with a lifetime gross of $2,797,800,564.

With that said, any hopes of the DCEU getting another movie onto the top 10 will have to wait until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Even so, fans were hoping that James Gunn's The Suicide Squad would at least break pandemic box office records, especially when you consider the stellar reviews given by critics in the lead-up to the movie's premiere.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.

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How much has The Suicide Squad earned so far?

It's going to be interesting to see if Warner Bros. is still willing to invest in future The Suicide Squad films after a paltry second showing.

Before anything else, let's talk about some good news first: The Suicide Squad topped the box office during its premiere weekend.

The R-rated comic book movie was projected to be a must-watch. So far, this has indeed been the case. Unfortunately, the bad news is that not a lot of people showed up to watch The Suicide Squad. It didn't even break pandemic box office records.

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Analysts were expecting The Suicide Squad to achieve more than $30 million in the local box office and $100 million worldwide. However, The Suicide Squad was only able to pull in $26.5 million from more than 4,000 theaters nationwide in the US. This is lower than Birds of Prey, another R-rated DCEU comic book movie that starred Margot Robbie at Harley Quinn and premiered in January 2020 (admittedly before the pandemic really hit).

With a rather disappointing $72.2 million global box office performance on a $185 million budget, The Suicide Squad will be lucky to recoup the costs of making and marketing it. In comparison, David Ayer's critically-panned Suicide Squad, which debuted in 2016, made $746 million worldwide.

Of course, you'd have to consider the context of The Suicide Squad's "measly" box office returns.

For one thing, The Suicide Squad premiered just as the fears of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus are starting to peak. This means that audiences possibly have more of a reason to stay at home. Speaking of, The Suicide Squad was also available on HBO Max, so moviegoers didn't need to risk getting sick in order to watch The Suicide Squad. The latter is also an unexpected benefit.

Given the overwhelmingly positive reviews of The Suicide Squad, James Gunn's hybrid reboot/sequel should have at least pulled in decent viewership numbers on the aforementioned streaming platform.

Here's to hoping that indeed is the case - numbers for HBO Max are not available yet. Otherwise, this doesn't bode well for the future of The Suicide Squad in the DCEU.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.