James Gunn Simultaneously Delights & Pisses Off DCEU Fans


James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad has received the best reviews of any DCEU film in the series thus far, despite having a lighter and more sarcastic tone than many other entries to date. The tone and style of The Suicide Squad are in fact so different from previous DC products that it distinguishes itself from both the 2016 original and the rest of the DCEU including the abysmal Birds of Prey film. Does this mean James Gunn’s film could serve as a model for how the DCEU moves forward?


Other than a few hits like Aquaman and Wonder Woman, and even the positive reception of the Snyder Cut of Justice League, most of the DCEU films have gotten poor receptions leading fans to think the experiment may be winding down, but maybe the DCEU isn’t as dead as people thought.



The Hollywood Reporter asked director James Gunn about the label that WB/DC tried to shed several years ago, but it turns out that it’s still being used internally… sometimes. Gunn said: “Yeah, it is. It is, sometimes. Yeah, I think that there’s definitely an eye. I got a lot more of it after the movie was made, frankly, because they’re really just trying to make everything fit together much better. And I know a lot of it because of working on Peacemaker and doing that, which is definitely connected to The Suicide Squad and it ends up being connected to other DC properties. So yeah, I think that, more than ever, there’s sort of an eye to connect stuff a little bit more. But also, they’re willing to take those properties like Joker and make them stand-alone DC properties. So I think that’s a good balance.”


While this news made most DCEU fans very happy, others felt some of Gunn’s comments about how “boring” superhero films had become was out of line. But perhaps few things got those easily triggered comic fans on Twitter more riled up than seeing the name of DC Comics artist Ethan Van Sciver thanked in the credits of the film. 




Haterz gonna hate, I guess?


For Gunn’s part, he wanted to include anyone and everyone that worked on making The Suicide Squad the film that it is, and even took to Twitter to mention a few more names that wound up not being included in the credits. 



Good to see that James Gunn respects the comic medium and the creators who brought the characters to life that Gunn now gets to play with. Maybe it’s time we forgive him for those sick pedo jokes he was such a fan of? Well, maybe not all of us are ready for that.


And yet, all this talk may merely be academic. Deadline is reporting that The Suicide Squad had a lackluster opening weekend with $26.5M domestically and $35M internationally bringing it up to $45.7M internationally since a few countries opened a week before. So, the overall number to date is $72.2M. While they’re talking about offering the expected excuses such as the dreaded Delta Variant and the day-and-date release on HBO Max for no additional fee… they’re also comparing the movie to the box office of the previous Suicide Squad film and the Harley Quinn / Birds of Prey movie.


With a nearly $250 million production and promotional budget, and an opening below Birds of Prey’s $34 million domestic (which only cost $85 million to produce), as of today, the movie looks like a bomb, in spite of the remarkably (and questionable) rave reviews. Star John Cena, who willingly dropped to his knees and begged China to forgive him, probably didn’t help box office either.




But perhaps the days of the huge box office weekends are behind us, at least for the foreseeable future. James Gunn’s turn in the DCEU has been extremely well received and reviewed overall (even if it seems like a headfake) so maybe it should be considered a success, but if you’re an accountant who only looks at the numbers, then you won’t see that here. Hollywood may need a new way to judge what’s considered successful, at least for the foreseeable future.

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Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Former captain of this ship o' fools secretly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'