It’s official, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is technically a flop. At first, the $26.5 million could’ve possibly been explained away due to the Delta Variant, with Free Guy opening with nearly $28 million and $19 million respectively, and Candyman also getting $23 million on the opening week. However, Free Guy has been doing well since its August 13th release, garnering over $302 million worldwide thus far, compared to the $166 million worldwide total of the anti-hero flick. Combine that with the fact that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opened with $71.4 million during Labor Day weekend, then it’s apparent that most audiences just weren’t interested in the James Gunn vehicle. It’s a strange one as the critically panned David Ayer version made nearly $800 million worldwide. Of course, the pandemic is always going to be a factor on why the sort of reboot didn’t even get a fraction of the worldwide total; however, there are always multiple reasons on why a select movie failed or succeeded. Let’s dive deeper into the possible reasons that James Gunn might’ve ruined The Suicide Squad reboot. I’ll avoid stating another obvious, which is the R-rating, which definitely hindered the film’s appeal to a widespread audience.
The Controversial Tweets From James Gunn
Let’s be honest, television and movies are no strangers to controversial jokes. Rape, slavery, racism, murder, war, drugs, or homosexual-type jokes have been made throughout many films, namely dark comedies, which bring humor to such disturbing subjects. However, James Gunn wasn’t making a movie when making those tweets. The filmmaker has made several darkly comedic films of his past, namely Sliter and Super, though that doesn’t excuse the weird pedophilia remarks her made on his social media. Granted, Dave Chappelle also went there when it came to the Michael Jackson situation; however, it still rubbed most people the wrong way. Being under the Disney banner, there’s clearly a certain image that the house of mouse likes to maintain. I do truly believe that Gunn was simply making jokes, nothing more; however, those statements likely turned off many who discovered the filmmaker through Guardians of the Galaxy. While there was an uproar over Disney instantly firing the filmmaker who brought the Guardians franchise from obscurity, that doesn’t mean that some fans weren’t turned off by his behavior. Given the fact The Suicide Squad is rated R, some audiences likely opted to skip the film because they weren’t interested in Gunn’s adult humor.
James Gunn Doesn’t Have The Strongest Track Record Outside of Disney
There’s no denying the contributions that Gunn has brought to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; however, Gunn isn’t much of a box office draw outside of Disney and Marvel. The only movie to crack the $100 million total was the live-action Scooby-Doo film back in 2002. However, Gunn only served as a writer for that film. Unfortunately, Gunn has the honor of being one of the many names attached to the atrocity known as Movie 43. However, the veteran has also penned little gems such as Slither and the Dawn of the Dead remake, though neither came close to reaching $100 million. Gunn has a noticeable style when it comes to his writing and while his off-color humor fits perfectly with audiences in Guardians of the Galaxy, his brand of writing hasn’t really caught fire with the mainstream audience outside of Disney. Many have pointed how The Suicide Squad feels niche and that’s a fair assessment.
The 2021 film is truly great, mixing humor, weirdness, and odd characters nicely together, but perhaps the movie was too off-beat for most people. David Ayer’s Suicide Squad had the advantage of a mostly known cast of comic book characters. Though Rick Flagg, Boomerang, Diablo, and Killer Croc weren’t noticeable to anyone other than comic book readers, Polka-Dot man, Ratcatcher 2, and The Peacemaker actually have lower value in the television and film landscape. This is actually the first appearance for all three bad guys (and girl). A woman who has the power to control rats? A man whose power is polka dots? John Cena in his tighty whities! At least Flagg, Boomerang, Diablo, and Killer Croc have made television or video games appearances, but the masses probably deemed the new characters just too weird. That’s a shame too as Polka-Dot man, Ratcatcher 2, and The Peacemaker are great characters and easily some of the best in the live-action DC universe.