Box office hits and misses: ‘Suicide Squad’ slays the competition for record-breaking weekend

suicide squad
It didn’t win over critics, but Suicide Squad made a killing at the box office — and broke a few records along the way, too.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ supervillain team-up movie earned a massive $135.1 million over its first weekend on theaters, setting a new record for August premieres. The film’s big debut topped previous record holder Guardians of the Galaxy, which had a $94.3 million opening weekend in 2014, and it also gave star Will Smith his best opening weekend of all time.

In a scenario similar to what transpired around the previous entry in WB’s big-screen superhero universe, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a flood of negative reviews did little to diminish the opening weekend for Suicide Squad. However, if Suicide Squad follows a similar path as Batman V. Superman, the film’s longevity could indeed take a hit due to all of the bad press.

After breaking multiple opening-weekend records, Batman V. Superman dropped nearly 70 percent from its first weekend in theaters to the second and was never able to turn its fortunes around. Earning just $330.3 million in U.S. theaters, the film ended up becoming the least-successful film of all time to earn more than $100 million in its opening weekend.

That means that the second week for Suicide Squad will be an important one if WB wants to course-correct its big-screen superhero universe.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Suicide Squad $135.1M $135.1M $267.1M
2. Jason Bourne $22.7M $103.4M $195.3M
3. Bad Moms $14.2M $51M $56.5M
4. The Secret Life of Pets $11.5M $319.5M $502.1M
5. Star Trek Beyond $10.2M $127.9M $194.4M
6. Nine Lives $6.5M $6.5M $6.5M
7. Lights Out $6M $54.7M $85.7M
8. Nerve $4.9M $26.8M $27.6M
9. Ghostbusters $4.8M $116.7M $179.5M
10. Ice Age: Collision Course $4.3M $53.5M $288.1M

The success of Suicide Squad led to trouble for Jason Bourne and many of the other recent, high-profile films that debuted strong, only to be replaced at the top of the box office a week later. Both Jason Bourne and Star Trek Beyond got hit hard by Suicide Squad (and by each other) as they competed for overlapping audiences in a crowded summer movie calendar.

The only other new release to debut in the weekend’s top ten was the family-friendly Nine Lives, which casts Kevin Spacey as a businessman who finds his mind occupying the body of the family cat, and must reacquaint himself with the loved ones he never had time for in the past. The film earned just $6.5 million for its debut, but it also received an impressively bad 4 percent (four!) approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Among this upcoming week’s biggest releases is the remake of Pete’s Dragon, which should pull in families, and the raunchy, animated comedy Sausage Party, which is aimed at the exact opposite of the family-friendly demographic. It will be interesting to see how both films do, but the big story will almost certainly be the performance of Suicide Squad in its second week, as this will be one of the summer’s rare weekends without a major action release or anything else likely to challenge WB’s comic-book adaptation.


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