Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Ayer|
|Written by||David Ayer|
|Music by||Steven Price|
|Edited by||John Gilroy|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$745.6 million|
Suicide Squad is a 2016 American action film based on the DC Comics antihero team of the same name, and is the third installment in the DC Extended Universe. The film is written and directed by David Ayer and stars an ensemble cast consisting of Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, and Cara Delevingne. In the film, a secret government agency led by Amanda Waller recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions and save the world from a powerful threat, in exchange for reduced sentences.
By February 2009, a Suicide Squad film was in development at Warner Bros. Ayer signed on to write and direct in September 2014, and by October, the casting process had begun. Principal photography began on April 13, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario with additional filming in Chicago, Illinois, and ended in August that year.
Suicide Squad premiered in New York City on August 1, 2016, and was released in the United States on August 5, 2016, in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D. Following a strong debut that set new box office records, the film grossed over $745 million worldwide, making it the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2016. It received generally negative reviews from critics, who criticized the plot, directing and characters, though Robbie's performance received praise. The film was nominated for and won multiple awards across various categories, including hair and make-up, acting, and music.
In the aftermath of Superman's death, intelligence officer Amanda Waller assembles Task Force X, a team of dangerous criminals imprisoned at Belle Reve Prison consisting of elite hitman Deadshot, former psychiatrist Harley Quinn, pyrokinetic ex-gangster El Diablo, opportunistic thief Captain Boomerang, genetic mutation Killer Croc, and specialized assassin Slipknot. They are placed under command of Colonel Rick Flag to be used as disposable assets in high-risk missions for the United States government. Each member has a nano bomb implanted in their neck, designed to detonate should any member rebel or try to escape.
One of Waller's intended recruits is Flag's girlfriend Dr. June Moone, an archaeologist possessed by a witch known as the "Enchantress". Enchantress quickly turns on Waller, deciding to eradicate humankind with a mystical weapon for imprisoning her. She besieges Midway City by transforming its populace into a horde of monsters, and summons her brother Incubus to assist her. Waller then deploys the squad to extract a high-profile mark from Midway, which is reported to be under a terrorist attack.
Harley's homicidal lover, the Joker, finds out about her predicament and tortures Belle Reve Security Officer Griggs into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs are made. There, he blackmails Dr. Van Criss into disabling Harley's bomb. On approach, the squad's helicopter is shot down, forcing them to proceed on foot to their target. Boomerang inaccurately convinces Slipknot that the bombs are a ruse to keep them in check; Slipknot attempts to escape and Flag kills him via his nano bomb, while the squad is attacked by Enchantress' minions. They eventually fight their way through to a safe room, where they learn that their mark is Waller herself, who is attempting to cover up her involvement in Enchantress' siege.
The squad escorts Waller to a rooftop for extraction, but the arriving helicopter has been hijacked by the Joker and his men, who open fire on the squad while Harley climbs aboard upon Dr. Van Criss disarming the bomb. However, Waller's men shoot down the helicopter, and Harley falls out while the Joker is presumed dead, after which Harley rejoins the squad. Alerted to Waller's whereabouts, Enchantress' minions arrive and kidnap her. Deadshot finds Waller's confidential files and learns the truth about Enchantress. Flag is then forced to confess the truth, causing the squad members to abandon him. With Waller compromised, Flag relieves the squad of the mission, but chooses to continue. Realizing they have an opportunity to prove themselves, they soon rejoin him and locate Enchantress at a partially-flooded subway station. Killer Croc and a group of Navy SEALs, led by Lieutenant GQ Edwards, go underwater to plant a bomb underneath Incubus. El Diablo embraces his abilities and distracts Incubus long enough for the bomb to detonate underneath, killing them both as well as Edwards.
The remaining squad members battle Enchantress together, but are ultimately defeated. Enchantress offers to fulfill their deepest desires in exchange for their allegiance, and Harley feigns interest in order to get close enough to cut out Enchantress' heart. Killer Croc then throws explosives into Enchantress' weapon and Deadshot shoots them, destroying the device. Flag takes Enchantress' heart and crushes it, finally freeing June from the curse. Waller, still alive, emerges, and the squad members are returned to Belle Reve with ten years off their sentences. All but Captain Boomerang are allowed special privileges. The Joker, alive and unscathed, breaks into the penitentiary and rescues Harley. In a mid-credits scene, Waller meets with Bruce Wayne, who agrees to protect her from the backlash against her role in Enchantress' rampage in exchange for access to the government's files on the expanding metahuman community.
Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller reprise their roles from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as Bruce Wayne / Batman and Barry Allen / Flash, respectively in cameo roles; Jason Momoa makes a brief photographic appearance as Arthur Curry / Aquaman. Alain Chanoine portrays Incubus, the brother of Enchantress, who possesses the body of a businessman in Midway City. Jim Parrack and Common appear as the Joker's henchmen Jonny Frost and Monster T, respectively. David Harbour, Alex Meraz and Matt Baram portray government official Dexter Tolliver, Navy SEAL Gomez and Dr. Van Criss, respectively. Shailyn Pierre-Dixon and Corina Calderon are featured as Zoe Lawton and Grace Santana, Deadshot's daughter and Diablo's wife, respectively. David Ayer (writer/director of the film) makes a cameo appearance as a Belle Reve officer.
The film was announced in 2009 with Dan Lin as producer. Stephen Gilchrist as co-producer and Justin Marks as the screenwriter. David Ayer signed on to direct and write the film in September 2014. later describing the film to Empire Online as "Dirty Dozen with supervillains". Ayer had six weeks to write his script, given the release date was already set.
In October 2014, Warner Bros. had initially offered Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Margot Robbie, and Will Smith roles in the film. In November, TheWrap revealed that Jared Leto was in talks for the role of Joker, which Gosling was originally sought for. The main cast was announced by Warner Brothers in December 2014 with Smith, Hardy, Leto, Robbie, Jai Courtney, and Cara Delevingne as Deadshot, Rick Flag, Joker, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, and Enchantress, respectively. The studio was also considering Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Oprah Winfrey for the role of Amanda Waller. Following the announcement of the cast, comic book writer John Ostrander (creator of the modern incarnation of the Suicide Squad) talked with Comic Book Resources about the casting, saying, "I have no problem with the casting... what I am really impressed by with all of the casting is that they are getting some very good actors to play these parts."
In January 2015, Davis expressed interest in playing Amanda Waller during an interview, saying "I'm fascinated by her (Waller)." Meanwhile, Tom Hardy had to drop out as Rick Flag because of scheduling issues with his film The Revenant. Jake Gyllenhaal was then given an offer to replace Hardy as Flag, but he declined. The studio was then looking at Joel Edgerton, Jon Bernthal, and Joel Kinnaman to play the role. In February, Jay Hernandez joined the cast and Kinnaman was also confirmed to play Flag. At the 87th Academy Awards, Davis confirmed that she had been cast as Amanda Waller. In March 2015, boxer Raymond Olubawale was reported to have an unspecified role in the film, and Scott Eastwood announced that he had been cast on Twitter. Later that month, it was confirmed that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Karen Fukuhara had been cast as Killer Croc and Katana, respectively. Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, and Jim Parrack were added to the cast in April 2015. In January 2016, Ben Affleck was confirmed to reprise his role as Batman from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Filming began on April 13, 2015. On April 26 and 27, filming was to take place at the Hy's Steakhouse. A "snowstorm" scene was filmed on April 29 on the Adelaide St. and in Ching Lane. On May 5, a few major scenes were filmed in downtown Toronto next to Yonge and Dundas Square. Principal photography wrapped in August 2015 after additional filming took place in Chicago, Illinois. Additional filming ensued in 2016 following Warner's desire to make a more lighthearted and comedic tone akin to the trailers, especially as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was criticized for being too somber. It was also confirmed that Zack Snyder filmed the shot with the Flash while shooting Justice League in London, while Ayer was in post-production on Suicide Squad. Ayer confirmed that the film was completed on June 24, 2016. Despite the involvement of multiple editors in the process, only John Gilroy is named in the main credit sequence. It was later revealed that many of Jared Leto's scenes were omitted from the final cut. An interview with Leto revealed that he was upset over the removal of his work.
Academy Award-winning composer Steven Price, who previously worked with Ayer on Fury, composed the score for Suicide Squad. Suicide Squad: Original Motion Picture Score was announced for a release date of August 8, 2016. A soundtrack album for the film, titled Suicide Squad: The Album, was announced in June 2016, and released on August 5, 2016. The album's first single, "Heathens" by Twenty One Pilots, was released on June 20, 2016. A music video for the song, set in a prison and featuring footage from the film, was released on June 21. "Sucker for Pain" was released as the second single on June 24. The album's third single, "Purple Lamborghini" by Skrillex and Rick Ross, was released on July 22. "Gangsta" by Kehlani; "Standing in the Rain" by Action Bronson, Mark Ronson, and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys; "Medieval Warfare" by Grimes; and a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" performed by Panic! at the Disco were released as four promotional singles on August 2, August 3, and August 4, 2016 respectively, with "Medieval Warfare" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" being released on the same day.
Suicide Squad held a panel at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International, with stars Smith, Robbie, Courtney, Davis, and Kinnaman amongst those who appeared. A trailer intended to be exclusive to the event premiered, but was leaked online, with Warner Bros. responding by stating they would not release an official version. However, the following day, Warner Bros. released an official version, stating: "Warner Bros. Pictures and our anti-piracy team have worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to contain the Suicide Squad footage that was pirated from Hall H on Saturday. We have been unable to achieve that goal. Today we will release the same footage that has been illegally circulating on the web, in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed. We regret this decision as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic-Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation."
Suicide Squad was a box office success, grossing $325.1 million in the United States and Canada and $420.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $745.6 million, against a production budget of $175 million ($325 million including advertising and promotion costs). Suicide Squad was highly anticipated by audiences worldwide, despite the negative critical reception and lower-than-expected box office performance of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in March. It recorded a worldwide opening of $267.1 million from 59 countries and IMAX global debut of $18.2 million, both set new records for the month of August. That is also the second-best debut worldwide for a DC property after Dawn of Justice ($422.5 million) and the seventh best for a superhero title. The Hollywood Reporter highlighted that Dawn of Justice had an advantage of receiving a coveted day-and-date release with China, while Suicide Squad did not secure a release date in the country. Forbes pointed out that had the film secured a release in China, it may well have matched or topped the $773 million total of Guardians of the Galaxy and the $782 million gross of Deadpool. Deadline.com calculated the net profit of the film to be $158.45 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film, making it the 10th most profitable release of 2016.
Projections for its opening weekend in the United States and Canada were being continuously revised upwards starting from $100 million to as high as $150 million. The film opened across 4,255 theaters, the widest for the month of August. Of that, 382 theaters were in IMAX, over 490 large-format screens locations, 270+ drive-ins, 180+ D-Box locations and over 200 dine-in/luxury theaters. It opened Friday, August 5, 2016, on about 11,000 screens and earned $65.1 million, marking the biggest August opening and single day, and the third biggest opening day gross of 2016. Of that, $5.8 million came from IMAX theaters, also a new August record. This includes $20.5 million it earned from Thursday previews, which began at 6:00pm, setting the record for biggest-ever preview of August and the second biggest for a non-sequel film (behind Man of Steel). IMAX comprised $2.4 million (12%) of that figure. Much like Batman v Superman and The Dark Knight Rises, however, the film saw a steep Friday-to-Saturday decline, grossing $38.8 million (a drop of 41%). In total, it earned $133.7 million in its opening weekend, setting records for the month of August (previously held by Guardians of the Galaxy) and for Will Smith's career (I Am Legend). It is also the second-biggest debut ever for a non-sequel, behind The Hunger Games ($152 million), the fourth biggest of the year and the fifth biggest for Warner Bros. IMAX made up $11 million of the opening numbers from 382 theaters, just $200,000 shy of breaking Guardians of the Galaxy' record. Nevertheless, it did beat Guardians' $7.6 million in terms of premium large format screens which comprised $13 million. For Cinemark XD screens, which made $3.2 million, the sixth-highest opening ever.
The opening numbers helped Warner Bros. push past the $1 billion mark in North America for the sixteenth year in a row. The film also helped the total weekend tickets sales to an unprecedented $221.3 million in August. Previously, August has never exceeded $200 million at the box office in a single weekend in North America. Suicide Squad scored a massive debut primarily on the backs of the under-35 set which made up 76% of the opening weekend. Audiences were also diverse, with African-Americans making up 41% of the patrons.
Following its record breaking opening weekend, it posted the biggest August Monday gross with $13.1 million, a drop of 56.5% from its Sunday gross. This broke Guardians of the Galaxy's previous record of $11.7 million, and also the biggest August Tuesday with $14.3 million, up 9% from its Monday take. The film has now earned the biggest Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in August history. It made $179.1 million in its first week of release, the fourth biggest of the year. Despite earning $13.4 million on its second Friday, the film dropped 79%, slightly less than Batman v Superman's 81% drop. Following a first-place finish in its first weekend of release, the film faced a steep decline of 67.2% in its second weekend, earning an estimated $43.8 million to score the biggest August second weekend gross. It also passed the $200 million mark in just ten days and was able to hold the top spot for the second time in a row despite competition from the comedy Sausage Party. However, the drop is among one of the biggest decline for a studio superhero film, and for Warner Bros. which The Hollywood Reporter called it "deja vu all over again" after Batman v Superman tumbled 69% in its second weekend earlier in the year. The second weekend decline is the second biggest in summer history, only behind Warcraft's historic 70% drop in June of the same year. The site also highlighted possible reasons for the significantly steep drop: dismal reviews, general apathy among moviegoers, altering movie-going habits and competition.
After three weeks of holding the top spot, it was finally overtaken by Don't Breathe on its fourth weekend. It maintained the second spot in its fifth weekend and registered its best hold with only a -20% decline while also passing the $300 million threshold on its thirty-second day of release. It remained in the top ten for eight weekends until finally falling off in its ninth weekend.
Internationally, Suicide Squad secured a release in approximately 62 countries with no China on the slate. It was released in 57 countries (70% of the marketplace) in conjuncture with its North American debut, including France, South Korea, Australia, Russia and the CIS, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Spain and Mexico beginning from Wednesday, August 3. According to trackings, the film was projected to have an opening anywhere between $85 million to $120 million, which would be a new August international debut record. Deadline.com pointed out that although the film is a lesser known property, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy, stars such as Will Smith are better known internationally, which could potentially aid the film's performance. It opened Wednesday, August 3, 2016, in 7 countries, earning $8.1 million. It opened in 50 more countries on August 4 and 5, earning $53.8 million for a three-day total of $64.6 million from 57 countries. Through Sunday, August 7, it delivered a five-day opening of $133.3 million from 57 countries on 17,630 screens, nearly double the previous August record held by Guardians of the Galaxy. It also set IMAX opening record with $7 million. It added $58.7 million on its second weekend, a drop of 57% on 15,600 screens in 62 territories. After two straight wins, it was overtaken by the animated The Secret Life of Pets in its third weekend.
It recorded the biggest opening day of all time for Warner Bros. in Russia ($3.9 million), the biggest August opening day in the United Kingdom and Ireland ($6.2 million), Brazil ($3 million), South Korea ($2.9 million, also the second biggest Warner Bros. opening day), France ($2.7 million), Sweden ($564,000) and Holland ($517,000, also the biggest opening of the year). Mexico and Spain opened with $3.9 million and $1.4 million respectively. In terms of opening weekend, the film recorded the biggest Warner Bros. opening of all time in Russia ($11.4 million). In Brazil, despite playing amidst the 2016 Summer Olympics, it managed to open with $11.75 million, marking the biggest August opening weekend of all time, the biggest Will Smith opening, and the fourth biggest opening for a superhero film. Its opening numbers alone made it the second biggest film for the studio there. In South Korea, although the film was off to a strong start, however, it was eventually overtaken by The Last Princess and Operation Chromite debuting at No. 3. It made $10.8 million in five days (Wednesday to Sunday). The U.K. and Ireland posted the biggest opening market for the film with £11.25 million ($14.8 million) from 573 theaters. Discounting previews, it delivered the third-biggest UK opening of the year, behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (£14.62 million) and Captain America: Civil War (£14.47 million). It also became the first new released film of August since 2014 to debut above £3 million. Elsewhere, it scored the biggest August opening in Australia ($10.5 million), Mexico ($10.4 million) and Argentina ($2.5 million), while in Spain, it recorded the biggest DC opening with $3.4 million, where it was behind The Secret Life of Pets for the weekend and France a $7.9 million opening. It opened in first place in India for a non-local film with $1.8 million from 462 screens, despite facing competition from Jason Bourne ($1.1 million from 1,027 screens) which also opened on the same weekend. Despite the later film occupying twice the screen number of the former, Suicide Squad managed to take the top spot. Italy opened with an estimated $2.2 million in two days, that's the biggest opening for Smith there. It opened in first place in Germany with $6.9 million. It opened in Japan – the film's last market – on September 9 where it debuted with $3.8 million. It finished in second spot (and first among new releases) behind local anime Your Name. With such a robust opening, Variety projected that the film will end its run there around $20 million. It has so far grossed $9.4 million there.
In terms of total earnings, its biggest market outside of North America are the U.K. and Ireland ($43.3 million), followed by Brazil ($35.1 million) and Mexico ($27.1 million). In just two weeks, it became the second-highest-grossing Warner Bros. film of all time in Brazil behind Dawn of Justice.
Suicide Squad received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 25% based on 312 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 4.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren't enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing." On Metacritic, the film has a normalized score of 40 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers wrote, "DC Comics tries something different with Suicide Squad, an all-star collection of crime fighting villains—and the result is anything but super." Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair said, "Suicide Squad is just bad. It's ugly and boring, a toxic combination that means the film's highly fetishized violence doesn't even have the exciting tingle of the wicked or the taboo." Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern heavily criticized the film saying, "In a word, Suicide Squad is trash. In two words, it's ugly trash." He further said, it "amounts to an all-out attack on the whole idea of entertainment," and called the film a product of "shameless pandering".
Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film B− saying, "Suicide Squad kicks off with fizzy, punk-rock ferocity before turning flat and spiraling into familiar formulas," and called Jared Leto's "scene-stealing" Joker "wasted" and "stranded in the periphery". He concluded by saying, "For DC, Suicide Squad is a small step forward. But it could have been a giant leap." IGN gave the film 5.9/10, saying: "Suicide Squad is a decidedly different flavor than Batman v Superman. It goes for subversive, funny and stylish, and it succeeds wildly during the first act. But then the movie turns into something predictable and unexciting." Drew McWeeny from HitFix gave it a positive review, writing "Suicide Squad is not the darkest mainstream superhero comic book movie ever made, nor is it even the darkest live-action film featuring Batman ever made. However, it is gleefully nihilistic, and it takes a different approach to what has become a fairly familiar story form at this point, right at the moment when it feels like superhero movies either have to evolve or die." Brian Truitt from USA Today wrote, "Compared to its ilk, Suicide Squad is an excellently quirky, proudly raised middle finger to the staid superhero-movie establishment."
Jared Leto and Margot Robbie's performances as the Joker and Harley Quinn, respectively, were better received, with many critics eager to see more of the characters in future films. In January 2017, David Ayer later stated on Twitter that he wished he had done certain things differently in the film including story elements, as well as giving more screen time to the Joker.
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Despite the negative critical and mixed audience reception to the film, Suicide Squad was nominated for various awards, receiving several.
Suicide Squad was released on Digital HD on November 15, 2016, and on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra-HD Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray 3D, and DVD on December 13, 2016. An extended cut of the film is included in the home entertainment release, containing roughly thirteen minutes of footage absent from the theatrical version.
In March 2016, it was announced that Warner Bros. would bring Ayer and Smith back for a sequel, to be shot in 2017. The following month, Ayer expressed an interest in making the sequel R-rated. Fukuhara has stated that she wants to explore Katana's backstory in the sequel, and Courtney has stated about his hopes of reprising his role as well.
In addition, it was later announced in September that Warner Bros. was planning a film focusing on Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn, with Robbie serving as executive producer and Christina Hodson serving as the screenwriter for the solo film. In December 2016, it was revealed that Ayer will return to the shared universe as director of Gotham City Sirens, a film based on Harley Quinn and other female villains. That same month, it was also revealed that the studio is developing a film focusing on Floyd Lawton / Deadshot, which will star Smith.
In February 2017, it was reported that the studio had a shortlist of potential directors for the sequel. In March of that same year, Adam Cozad was hired as screenwriter for the film. By July, Jaume Collet-Serra was named as the studio's first choice to helm the sequel, with production scheduled for mid-2018; Zak Penn had also submitted a story treatment and a new script was being written. The film was officially announced as Suicide Squad 2 at San Diego Comic-Con.
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