Sellers Points Breakdown: Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad logo

After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes what recently-announced director David Ayer called the “Dirty Dozen with supervillains,” otherwise known as Suicide Squad.

That sounds like exactly the direction to go with this rag-tag group of B- and C-list villains who are brought together by a shadow organization within the U.S. government to carry out missions with a low survivability rate in exchange for money and possible freedom…or just not being executed in some cases.

With a release date of August 5, 2016, things have got to get moving on this one fairly quickly in order to meet that schedule. With a director in place, that’s a big step forward. And from the sound of it, Ayer has a plot in mind which may or may not be related to a thought-dead script from David Goyer, who may also serve as a producer on the movie.

But let’s look at the possibilities one at a time and dig into the next chapter of the DC Cinematic Universe breakdown series right now!

 

Breaking faces and the bank?

Some good news for Warner Brothers is that this movie shouldn’t cost them a ton of money to make. Some early rumors floated around said that the studio was shooting for around $40 million, but I’d say that’s underselling how much they’re willing to spend. I’d estimate this movie could get made for about double that and be way better.

Suicide Squad is made up, largely, of non-superpowered characters and even the ones who do have certain abilities (Blockbuster, King Shark, Shade the Changing Man), won’t create the need for an inflated effects budget like, say, Batman v Superman has. But there’s still likely to be a load of action scenes and that means some cash is going to have to be spent.

Suicide Squad roster
Making this crew work on screen shouldn’t break the bank.

The first Expendables movie was made for around $80 million and had about the same number of action set pieces you might expect Suicide Squad to have. But, The Expendables also had a lot of C and D list stars in its ranks, so the budget didn’t have to cover high-priced actors. Suicide Squad is looking to do things a bit different, if rumors turn out to be true.  We’ll get to that in a minute.

But how successful does this movie really need to be? Is it a vital part of the DC Cinematic Universe that absolutely must succeed? Not really.

Sure, Warner Bros. would love for this movie to be a smash hit. So would all of us movie goers and the film’s production team. But, in terms of determining the future of the DCCU, this film has very little weight on its shoulders.

This is a movie that will give WB a chance to introduce some of the deeper roster of villains without having to build them up through separate movies. And if they’re popular enough in this setting, they might just pop up in other places or maybe even get a sequel, thus giving the DCCU an outside-the-box franchise to work with that’s both cheap to produce and a solid revenue generator.

The biggest impact the film could have on the future is character crossover, which could generate more buzz and/or interest for multiple franchises. Suicide Squad, however, needs to be kept in a strict pattern of produced cheap/doubling its investment. Ever wonder why there have been so many Fast and Furious movies? Simple math: Cheap to make, brings in big bucks.

You know Vin, Black Adam doesn’t like people in his face.

This will take a lot of pressure off David Ayer, David Goyer and other production officials who won’t be under the weight of “make a billion or we kill your franchise.” And with less pressure comes more creative freedom.

 

A-list, B-list…they’re the ones with the guns

Now how about who’s going to be in this movie? We’ve heard some recent rumors suggesting Ryan Gosling was in talks and while that would be a huge pickup for the franchise, it’d be something completely out of character for him: doing a franchise film.

Gosling is at a point in his life where franchises may suddenly look more appealing and something like Suicide Squad would certainly be non-standard superhero fair (especially since he’d likely be playing a “villain”). The hot rumor is that he’s in talks to play Deadshot, the team’s field leader/mouthpiece. Personally, I think he’d kill it (pun), but getting him to sign on is the real trick. He’s also likely to be expensive and if the film is successful enough for sequels or Deadshot is slated to appear in other DCCU films, his price tag might be headed up. If he’s in, the pressure for SS to be a big hit might go up a bit, too.

It may or may not happen, but it's a cool idea!
It may or may not happen, but it’s a cool idea!

Some others rumored to be “in talks” are Will “needs to get jiggy with a career reboot” Smith, Tom “now you have my permission to die” Hardy and Margot “the real Wolf of Wallstreet” Robbie. Robbie and Smith recently completed the romantic thriller Focus, which could be just what Smith has needed for a while and he’s made no secret about his interest in being involved in franchise pictures in the past. But his price tag/demands may be what keep him out of this film. Not many rumors have hit about who Smith might be playing (though some suggested Blockbuster or King Shark, I’m thinking he could be Col. Flag).

The most popular rumor floating out there is that Robbie is in talks to portray Harley Quinn, hilariously insane on/off girlfriend/psychiatrist to The Joker. However, she’s not the only one rumored to be up for the role. Just this week we heard that British model/singer Cara Delevingne is in the running, too. She might be 22, blonde and pretty, but with unproven acting skills compared to Robbie, I’d call that a long shot, if there’s any truth to it at all. Harley would certainly lend some credibility to the proceedings and be an A-list villain for the group, but the question remains: is this film part of the DCCU with BvS and Justice League or strictly its own thing? If the rumor about Jesse Eisenberg bringing his Lex Luthor to this film is true, then that question is answered. The key word there, however, is “rumor.” This could also be a backdoor way of introducing the concept of The Joker (if not with a solid cameo) to the larger film franchise without having him in a solo Batman film (or BvS/JL) first.

Harley Quinn?
Harley Quinn?

Harley is something of a hard-line predictor for the direction and placement of this film. If she’s in it, then there are lots of larger implications. If she’s not, then SS can be kept to the side if it doesn’t work for larger audiences. Recently, Harley had a cameo in an episode of Arrow during its second season. While we don’t’ see her face, the voice and from-behind view was absolutely for those who love the character. We also know that Arrow has no connection to the DCCU and has made no mention of Batman whatsoever. Thus, it’s possible for Harley to also be introduced in a way that doesn’t involve The Joker. She could easily just be crazy all by herself.

Do I look like I need Mista J?
Do I look like I need Mista J?

Tom Hardy is somewhat of a mystery for me (and everybody at this point). It seems plausible that he could be Captain Boomerang (Flash connection, maybe?) but he could also be Col. Flag, the “organizer” of the SS and leader of Team 7 (who should totally be in the movie as the other group of trouble-makers who help capture the SS members prior to the formation of the team). I don’t doubt WB would love to work with Hardy some more, but I wonder if he’d really want to play another DC character after such a great and iconic turn as Bane in Dark Knight Rises. And I’d certainly hope they wouldn’t ask him to play another version of that character. In fact, let’s leave Bane out of this all together for now.

When Suicide Squad is a hit, then you have my permission to bring me back.
When Suicide Squad is a hit, then you have my permission to bring me back.

Speaking of leaving things out, the rumor that hit the ‘net first about this film laid out a possible lineup for the group. Now this rumor comes to us courtesy of a guy who’s been wrong plenty of times before, so don’t read too much into it. This movie needs a strong focus on as many known characters as possible and while Multiplex got a recent turn on The Flash TV show, it looks to be a one-and-done and I doubt he’ll wind up being one of the more popular characters. Though he could be an interesting addition to the proceedings, if for nothing else but cannon fodder. Vixen, if she’s actually part of the lineup, could be our “hero trying to get out” to play opposite Harley Quinn’s “unpredictable psychotic.”

The story is still very much a secret, but if David Goyer is indeed involved, the basics could already be there in the form of a screenplay he adapted back in 2008: Supermax. It was originally intended to be a Green Arrow film, but plans got changed along the way. That this film is headed for a 2016 release date would suggest that things have moved quickly, suggesting a story/script may already be finished. Supermax would make a lot of sense in that it was based around the idea of Green Arrow being locked in a Supermax prison with a bunch of C- and D-list DC villains. Simply take Oliver Queen out and insert the SS and you’ve got a pretty good second act that would follow along with Ayer’s comments about a “Dirty Dozen” style movie. If it follows the DD format, the plot will be an assassination mission the group spends most of the film training for (where better than a Supermax?) and then carrying out in the final act. Simple, straightforward and potentially loads of fun with so many DC cameos it does and incredible amount of world-building (also something Ayer commented on recently) in a short time span. Not necessarily a bad plan.

Not that we'd say 'no,' but we don't really need a movie, no do we?
Not that we’d say ‘no,’ but we don’t really need a movie, no do we?

 

Never tell ‘em the odds

With Ayer on board and a solid cast, this movie could be a big surprise hit for WB/DC. Maybe even birthing a brand new franchise that could work with a rotating cast, much like how the SS works in the comics.

The kind of experience Ayer brings to the table is substantial and with movies like End of Watch and the recent Brad Pitt war drama Fury, he’s likely to have a solid vision for this already. All of this seems to be setting up SS for lots and lots of success. Not that it couldn’t go the opposite direction, too, but it at least has the appearance of having a solid plan.

While comic book fans will certainly know the team, casual audiences might not, so hopefully Harley Quinn is played up and Ryan Gosling signs on for the star power. A post-credits scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or maybe just some mention of them might build a little interest, too, if it’s all supposed to be connected. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe just a few seconds.

Know what else might give this movie some legitimacy?
Know what else might give this movie some legitimacy?

If things go well and there’s enough positive buzz, I think the movie could open with $50-60 million in its first weekend at the domestic box office. It’s still way too early to give an accurate prediction, but the pieces seem to be falling into place for this one to be a solid enough hit to give WB/DC some added confidence in its deeper roster of characters. I’m certainly in for the ride.

Set to open August 5, 2016. Subject to change, of course.

Come back next week for a look at Wonder Woman!

Author: Russell Sellers

Comic book geek extraordinaire, Russell Sellers enjoys enthusiastic conversations about all things geek. He also traffics in ill-timed puns and random obscure Ghostbusters quotes. Send Russell an email