Where Was ‘The Suicide Squad’ Filmed?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe makes legendary leaps across the entertainment world. Meanwhile, DC Comics has been left scrambling to try to compete. The franchise features some truly impressive characters. But bringing them to life on the big screen in a way that resonates with modern presented some challenges. 

The Suicide Squad‘s August 2021 release gave DC fans something to look forward to. And many wondered more about the details of the film’s creation. Where was it filmed, and how did it perform at the box office? 

‘The Suicide Squad’ is not a sequel to ‘Suicide Squad’

You’d be forgiven as a casual moviegoer for assuming that the 2021 film The Suicide Squad is a sequel to the 2016 film Suicide Squad. In addition to nearly identical names, the films draw from the same source material. 

Both follow a ragtag group of troubled super villains as they fight in stunning action sequences. Both are star-studded affairs (with Margot Robbie leading the lineup as Harley Quinn). And both draw from the comic books of the same name while working with existing tropes and established personalities within the fandom. 

The 2016 film was written and directed by David Ayer. The more recent version comes from James Gunn. Comparisons between the two were inevitable, but most agree that Gunn’s version did a better job. That has left Ayer to defend his work, arguing that his actual cut was never released. Still, he was gracious enough to congratulate Gunn on the success of capturing the challenging subject matter in a way that resonated with fans. 

To make matters even more complicated, director Cathy Yan created Birds of Prey, a film starring Robbie as Harley Quinn within the same universe as both Suicide Squad films. Gunn wanted his work to fit within this universe without contradicting it, but he did not set out to make a sequel or pick up the storylines from the earlier films. 

Where was ‘The Suicide Squad’ filmed?

The setting is incredibly important to the plot of Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. The crew lands in hostile territory: the remote (and fictional) island of Corto Maltese. From there, they must take on an incredible enemy known as Project Starfish.

Since this setting was an important point of the story itself, it was crucial that where The Suicide Squad filmed led to an overall sense of cohesion. The creators achieved this by using a combination of filming locations. Wide establishing shots of the fictional capital city of Valle del Mar were filmed on location in Panama. 

Other segments of the movie filmed in a studio in Atlanta. Gunn and his crew even shot outdoor jungle and beach scenes in a studio with artificially created spaces to represent these complicated and action-packed backdrops. 

The movie underperformed at the box office

The Suicide Squad cast walks in the rain
L-R: Joel Kinnaman, John Cena, Margot Robbie, Peter Capaldi and Idris Elba in ‘The Suicide Squad’ | Jessica Miglio/Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics

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The Suicide Squad enjoyed positive reception from fans and critics alike. It is currently “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 91%. (Compared to Birds of Prey at 79% and Suicide Squad at a depressing 26%). By these metrics, it’s safe to say that Gunn’s treatment of the volatile villains has been the most successful to date. 

However, that success failed to fully translate to box office sales. As CNBC reports, the film underperformed according to expectations: “It garnered $26.5 million at the domestic box office. Expectations were set at around $35 million.”

Of course, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (and the resurgence of the Delta variant) explains some of that lackluster performance, but that’s not the only issue. The film debuted on HBO Max at the same time it hit theaters, and plenty of people tuned in on the streaming platform. Coronavirus fears likely kept some home, but the report notes that “it is equally likely that a large portion viewed it on the service because it was free and because the previous Suicide Squad was not well received.”