A curious thing has happened at the box office in the last two years: a batch of lesser-known Marvel Comics properties have overcome obscurity to put up some of Hollywood's biggest numbers.
That trend may yet spill over into Warner Bros. Studios' and DC Comics' "Suicide Squad," when the super-villain team-up movie opens next weekend. The film is tracking for a U.S. debut somewhere north of $100 million that would trump the current record holder for an August opening — Marvel's surprise 2014 hit "Guardians of the Galaxy."
It would also make "Suicide Squad" the first movie to top the $100 million mark in an August premiere.
The comic book team of the same name debuted in 1987. It has periodically featured a rotating cast of ne'er-do-wells who embark on high-risk missions at the behest of a clandestine government agency. The rogues get commuted sentences, and the agency gets plausible deniability.
Though "Suicide Squad" features Batman's arch-nemesis the Joker — and a cameo from the Dark Knight himself — Warner Bros. is certainly reaching deeper into its bench after this year's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
Yet "Suicide Squad" has some of the ingredients that elevated past underdog superhero flicks: Namely an irreverent cast of anti-heroes, and a cult classic character with a die-hard base of fans.