Suicide Squad beat even the most modest expectations when it opened to $267 million worldwide on its opening weekend. Combined with a ‘rotten’ 26% rating on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes - which is worse than its predecessor Batman v Superman’s 27% - Suicide Squad is another in a growing number of movies that can be described as ‘critic-proof’.
Director David Ayer’s anti-hero movie starring classic DC Universe villains who team up to fight a mystical foe had been steadily building great buzz for over a year thanks to a flurry of brilliant trailers and inspired marketing. But only a few days before its release, the horrible reviews started to surface, some even calling it worse than the famously divisive BvS.
Read Suicide Squad review: Ignore all the negativity, Joker and Harley save it
Read Batman v Superman review: Doesn’t come close to The Dark Knight movies
But clearly, the negative reception had little or no impact on the movie’s box office appeal. Combined with its $135 million opening in the US, the film made $132 million in other territories for a $267 gross on a $175 million budget. All things said, things are looking quite good for Warner Bros.
But Squad isn’t the only film that hasn’t let terrible reviews get in its way of big box office numbers. ‘Critic-proof’ films are fast becoming a thing. Here are a few others we found:
The Transformers series (2007-)
None of the films in Michael Bay’s series has a ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, the reception has been steadily getting worse, with the fourth movie, Age of Extinction grossing $1.1 billion worldwide. The film, however, scored a series-low 18% rating on RT.
(Box Office Mojo)
Here are the critics’ consensus for the Transformers movies:
The first Transformers has a disproportionately favourable audience rating. Maybe the goodwill of the first movie is the reason the series is still going strong. Worldwide gross: $709 million.
It was after the second movie, Revenge of the Fallen, when it all began to fall apart. It was made during the 2008 writers’ strike of Hollywood, which basically means that they didn’t have a finished script when they began production. The stars and even director Bay later owned up to the problems of this movie. It made $836 million worldwide.
Dark of the Moon was a definite improvement, but the damage had already been done. Notice how even the audience was no longer on their side. But it’s the highest-grossing of the series with $1.123 billion.
The disparity reached a peak with the fourth movie. It’s the lowest-rated but still made $1.1 billion worldwide.
The Twilight Saga (2008-2012)
Just like the Transformers series, the Twilight Saga is infamous for its consistently subpar installments, perhaps unfairly so because not all of the films are as terrible as their RT ratings. The series peaked with Breaking Dawn: Part 2.
Unlike most franchises - especially young adult series - the Twilight Saga only grew with each new movie.
(Box Office Mojo)
Unfortunately, this would be about as high as the series would go on Rotten Tomatoes. While the first film is the lowest-grossing in the series, it is also the second-highest rated, and only by 1%.
The box office jump from the first to the second movie was quite something. New Moon made $709 million worldwide, compared to the almost $400 million of the first film.
The third film, Eclipse, is often regarded as the best of the lot, and the RT rating reflects that. Ironically, it is also the second-lowest grossing with $698 million worldwide.
The penultimate film is the lowest-rated of the series, but it made a solid $712 million worldwide.
Twilight went out with a bang however. The final film was both the highest-grossing and the highest-rated of the series, tying with Eclipse. But let’s not forget that it was still negatively received.
The Da Vinci Code (2007)
Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s cultural phenomenon of a novel came at a time when both Brown and star Tom Hanks’ popularity were at a peak. The film opened the Cannes Film Festival to a now-infamous 15-minute round of booing and rests at a very low 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. It made $758 million worldwide, however, and the third installment, Inferno, is due out later this year.
Ice Age (2002-)
The Ice Age series is a classic example of the law of diminishing returns. Aside from the first film, 2002’s Ice Age, each successive one has been reviewed negatively on RT. It is, after the Shrek series, the second-highest grossing animated series of all time.
(Box Office Mojo)
The series began on a positive enough note. But as the box office receipts grew, so did the negative reception.
Dawn of the Dinosaurs is still the highest-grossing of the series with $886 million.
Animation is usually not as hated as this series. While Pixar does great work, Blue Sky Studios was more than content making lowest common denominator films. Continental Drift made $877 million.
The fifth film, Collision Course, was perhaps the final nail this franchise needed. Not only is it the lowest-rated of the series, it also bombed in most territories.
Read Ice Age Collision Course review: Please, make this series extinct, ASAP
Let’s finish by adding the caveat that while Rotten Tomatoes scores aren’t the best way to gauge a movie’s reception (it’s an aggregator, not a reviewer), it’s still fascinating to see how irrelevant these scores can sometimes be.
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The author tweets @NaaharRohan