Is the Gambit Movie Avoiding Suicide Squad’s Failings?

The Ragin' Cajun, unrushed. Photo: Marvel

As you may have heard, Suicide Squad is in a weird situation. It had a massive opening weekend, but that weekend included an insane 41 percent drop in revenue between Friday and Saturday, which bodes ill for the film's financial future. It also, of course, has received abysmal reviews. Execs at Warner Bros. are no doubt scrambling to figure out what went so wrong, and if The Hollywood Reporter is to be believed, one issue is that the movie was a bit of a rush job. Writer-director David Ayer allegedly only had about six weeks to pen the script and the whole production was put on an unrealistically hurried schedule.

By sheer coincidence, one of Fox's superhero-movie chieftans, Simon Kinberg, spoke to /Film on the day of Suicide Squad's release and hit on something that should perhaps give Warners pause. Fox manages the X-Men properties, and Kinberg addressed one of the company's most infamously delayed X-films: the Channing Tatum vehicle Gambit. Rupert Wyatt was originally onboard to direct, only to be replaced by Doug Liman, and plans to start filming this past spring never came to fruition. So things look pretty bad for the Cajun mutant, non?

Perhaps. But Kinberg offered another interpretation of events, one that drew on the path of Fox's surprise mega-hit Deadpool

The truth is when you have these movies that need a very special and unique tone, it takes a little while to find that tone. ... Deadpool feels like it exploded out of nowhere but it was a ten-year development process on that movie. I think it was honed over those ten years. I hope that Gambit doesn’t take ten years but it takes a little honing to get that tone and that voice exactly right. The character has such a specific voice in the comic in the same way that Deadpool has a specific voice in the comic, that we want to make sure that we capture that voice on the page. Really it’s just about getting a screenplay that is worthy of that character and I think we’re really close right now.

That could very easily be a producer's attempt to put some gloss on a dire situation. But maybe there's something to be said for the way things are playing out. With a character as quirky as Gambit, it would be understandable if they were having trouble nailing down the story in a way that makes sense, and the studio sees no point in rushing out a half-baked product — the past few days have demonstrated what can happen when you take a non-iconic comics property and throw something together on an aggressive timeline. We've already written about the fact that Gambit is a great opportunity to do something original, given that the character has a minimal diehard-fan following and there are basically no legendary Gambit stories. In the present superhero economy, the most valuable power may well be patience.