A poor critical reception wasn’t enough to keep droves of moviegoers from seeking out the Suicide Squad over the weekend, as the new DC universe film took in a staggering $135.1 million, shattering Guardians of the Galaxy’s previous August record of $94.3 million.
In addition, the film pulled in $132 million internationally, an impressive figure considering the film has not been released in China (and probably won’t be). For those not keeping count, that puts Suicide Squad’s total gross so far at $267 million. Variety also notes that Suicide Squad now represents the biggest debut of Will Smith’s career, easily beating out the $77.2 million that I Am Legend put up in 2007.
Although Suicide Squad has performed well above Warner Bros.’ projections so far, there are still lingering questions about its long term success. The film experienced a massive Saturday attendance drop off of 41 percent compared to Friday, suggesting that negative reviews from critics and poor word-of-mouth suggested by its B+ CinemaScore (superhero movies generally receive some variation of an A) played a part in convincing some moviegoers to stay away. However, Warner Bros. studio distribution Jeff Goldstein argues that the Friday to Saturday decline can be attributed primarily to the fact that the movie made $20.5 million on Thursday night and that figure was folded into Friday’s gross. “From my perspective, this was an awesome weekend,” he says.
While Goldstein makes a valid point, it’s important to remember that other superhero films that have performed well in Thursday-night previews haven’t experienced the same level of decline. Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War earned 27.7 million in previews and fell just 19 percent from Friday to Saturday earlier this year. A better comparison can be made with Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool, which were both oddball superhero films. Those two experienced drops of 18 percent and 10 percent, respectively, and proved to have strong legs at the box office.
Batman v Superman, the other DC universe film released this year, earned only a B CinemaScore rating but its 38 percent Saturday drop wasn’t quite as large as Suicide Squad’s. That film was also taken to task by reviewers and while it managed to make $872.7 million globally, this figure fell short of the $1 billion mark many analysts predicted it would hit. Suicide Squad is projected to earn approximately $773 million when all is said and done, so it will be interesting to see if the film can sustain enough interest over the coming weeks to reach that goal.
(Source: Hollywood Reporter)