Here we go again.
It seemed Hollywood was slowly returning to the theaters. But then, COVID-19 comes back and forces us to face the debilitating reality of an epidemic. On Friday’s opening, The Suicide Squad earned $27 million in North America. This is a small amount for an all-star DC movie about a superhero directed by Guardians of the Galaxy genius James Gunn. Especially given the stellar reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Other factors may also have played a role, but we can’t ignore them. The Suicide Squad started streaming for HBO Max’s ad-free subscribers the same day it hit theaters, and it did quite well there. Some people may have been turned off by R-ratings or the inconsistent quality of DC Comics movies, particularly since Suicide Squad’s 2016 unconnected take was so bad.
Let’s face it, people are afraid. It is the same anti-vax group in America that has caused embarrassingly low vaccination rates in certain parts of the nation and helped COVID’s Delta version gain ground, which is most responsible for our slow recovery.
That’s why the theaters weren’t filled for The Suicide Squad as they were for Black Widow and F9, I would say. Fear is returning. After an optimistic stretch of weeks, the fear is back. Despite returning lockdowns being rescinded and mandates for masks still being in place, consumer behavior has changed.
You think box office reports revolve around numbers? So let’s look at some numbers.
A staggering 168,343 cases were reported to the United States on Aug. 6th, the date The Suicide Squad was opened. This brought the average 7-day case count to 106 723. We last saw such numbers in November 2020 when cases began to increase sharply ahead of the deadly 2020/2021 winter.
This stretch, which lasted from November 2020 to February 2021, marked the most severe COVID phase in America so far. It is worrying to see the number of COVID cases rise again at a moment when citizens responsible for their actions were expecting to return to “normal” lives.
Theatre chains must immediately implement vaccine mandates with evidence.
We’ve witnessed a number of backward-compounding steps in recent weeks. Back-to-office plans are being delayed. Mask mandates are coming back. Some who were opposed to masking are now accepting the reality. Paramount made a move to defer Clifford the Big Red Dog’s September release, just days before The Suicide Squad premiere.
A July poll found that, among U.S. adults who aren’t yet vaccinated, a combined 80 percent of that number “probably” or “definitely” won’t get jabbed. Nearly two-thirds of unvaccinated adults — a stunning 64 percent — describe themselves as “not confident” that the vaccines offer protection against the variants, in spite of ample evidence that they do.
After analyzing all data, it is clear that COVID is being spread by vaccine hesitancy. Although the anti-vax movement was already present long before this current outbreak, its supporters have become energized by an extremely partisan political climate that has made proven lifesaving measures a topic of discussion.
While some have valid medical reasons for skipping their jabs — a decision that should be made after consulting your doctor, to be clear — many of the justifications that have been offered for forgoing the vaccine simply don’t hold water. This is largely due to U.S. politics and the influence of conservative news media on vaccine hesitancy.
Although it might sound odd that all this weight is put on one blockbuster movie about comic books, that’s exactly the point. If we don’t act as a society in order to take advantage of an opportunity to stop a pandemic from spreading, then it is all the small things that matter and the experiences that make the difference.
Hollywood and theatre exhibitors will, with any luck, learn from the mistakes of the last year and take action early. It is not impossible for the industry to succeed. It is no surprise that mask requirements should be mandatory. But theater chains could — and absolutely should — also move to immediately institute vaccine mandates, with proof required, for all attendees, instead of relying on local officials to make that choice for them.
You would expect some anger. But that is okay. Things are only getting worse. The vaccine holdouts who operate in poor faith and for political purposes are not going to be able to afford their jabs. It’s time for everyone to realize that reckless behavior can have consequences and to end catering to them.
We can’t discuss Suicide Squad‘s failure to make a profit without mentioning COVID. We can’t overlook the crucial role that anti-vaxxers played in sending the U.S. into the dark pit of a rampaging, resurgent pandemic.
Publiated Mon, 09 August 2021 at 17:26.04 +0000