Weak Audience Grade Takes Box-Office Bite from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad

Written By Mikey Sutton • Editor-in-Chief • Owner

Weak Audience Grade Takes Box-Office Bite from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad

Low audience score helped kill James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad at the box office.

Despite scoring a 92% Rotten Tomatoes rating from film critics, CinemaScore exit polls only delivered it a B+.

The grade is an ominous sign, especially for a comic-book blockbuster.

The movie matched 2016’s Suicide Squad and 2020’s financial disappointment, Birds of Prey.

Both films also starred Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.

For those who aren’t aware, CinemaScore isn’t manipulated like Rotten Tomatoes review bombing from users.

These are people who walked out of the theaters during the opening Thursday night screenings.

In other words, these were the hardcore fans. Studios fear B+ ratings from CinemaScore.

If the most passionate followers can’t grade it higher than a B+, chances are the general public will be similarly or if not more lukewarm.

However, it’s not always accurate.

After all, Joker only earned a B+ from audiences, too.

Joker ended up earning $1 billion globally.

Nevertheless, for popcorn entertainment, sources were alarmed by the B+ grade.

This was a movie that exploded onto social media.

They expected the film to be higher.

For example, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films each achieved an A.

Weak Audience Grade Takes Box-Office Bite from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad

Weak Audience Grade Takes Box-Office Bite from James Gunn's The Suicide Squad

Image: Warner Bros

Was it any good?

I reviewed The Suicide Squad a few days ago, and I wasn’t impressed.

Regardless, the box-office results display a somewhat more polarized reaction.

Online, those who enjoyed The Suicide Squad praised it like manna from Heaven.

But as pleased Warner Bros. was with such accolades, The Suicide Squad had an $185 million budget.

People vote with their wallets.

In the end, that’s what counts.

And there’s nothing much to count.

Warner Bros. didn’t spend that money for an HBO Max hit.

Depending on media spin control, The Suicide Squad is either a letdown or a flop.

Let’s be real: It was DOA.

Flip the Hamada burger over.

The pandemic

Fear from the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, especially among the unvaccinated, definitely hurt The Suicide Squad‘s theatrical performance.

There’s no doubt about this.

Moreover, the Delta variant tossed gasoline onto the fire.

Despite that, Variety reported The Suicide Squad should’ve done better.

They explained:

Still, industry analysts thought The Suicide Squad would have a stronger launch because the film has excellent reviews (92% on Rotten Tomatoes) and its target audience of younger males have been among the most loyal moviegoers during the pandemic.

Variety added the James Gunn flick barely topped Wonder Woman 1984‘s $16.7 million opening in December.

Only 35% of movie theaters were open, and there was no vaccine widely available like now.

HBO Max

Yes, The Suicide Squad is available for free on HBO Max for subscribers; in addition, pirates distributed digital copies with gleeful abandon.

However, Disney’s Jungle Cruise dipped only 55% in its second weekend in spite of a streaming option (albeit for an extra fee) and illegal downloads.

Jungle Cruise faced the same pandemic challenges, too.

Weak Audience Grade Takes Box-Office Bite from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad

Image: Warner Bros

Uncertain future

On June 16, I said:

Insiders revealed that Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Ann Sarnoff; DC Films president Walter Hamada; and Warner Bros. Pictures Group Toby Emmerich are not expected to remain.

Once the Discovery merger is complete, musical chairs will rock the new company.

Some sources suggested it could be sooner after The Suicide Squad tanked. Publicly, Exhibitor Relations Co. on Twitter remarked:


Warner Bros. will likely find ways of changing the narrative.

They did with the Thursday screening.

It pummeled the pandemic record for R-rated films.

Look at the small print.

It beat the anime Demon Slayer: Mugen Train.

Gosh.

That’s like winning a bodybuilding championship with only one other contestant.

On July 14, Robbie admitted to being unsure of Harley Quinn’s fate with DC Films:

I don’t know when we’re next going to see her. I’m just as intrigued as everyone else is.

She probably saw the writing on the wall.

Warner Bros. sure didn’t.

Related: The Suicide Squad’s James Gunn Pitched Crazy DC/Marvel Movie

The Suicide Squad’s James Gunn Pitched Crazy DC/Marvel Movie

The Suicide Squad’s James Gunn Pitched Crazy DC/Marvel Movie