By Chris Nashawaty:
Five summers ago, the DC supervillain extravaganza Suicide Squad had a massive $133.7 [million] opening weekend at the North American box office. Despite those eye-popping numbers, critics and audiences were left unimpressed by the film. This weekend, the complete opposite happened: critics and audiences loved its big-budget follow-up, The Suicide Squad, but its theatrical receipts were underwhelming, pulling in just $26.5 million in its debut weekend. In the age of COVID, it appears that up is down, black is white, and blockbusters just ain’t what they used to be.
In this case, I feel like “disappointing” is a word that should only be used by someone who hasn’t been paying any attention to the world for the last year and a half.1 I’m hoping that the people who make the decision to green light a film won’t read too deep into this sort of misleading headline.
The writer’s conclusion is correct. Blockbusters indeed “just ain’t what they used to be,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re underperforming. Streaming services don’t often publish clear data about their viewership numbers and COVID has screwed up theatrical revenue. With those two factors in mind, The Suicide Squad, if I had to bet, is by no means a disappointment. To be more accurate, nobody knows yet how to properly gauge a film’s success in a world that values streaming at home over going to the theater.