Box Office: 'Suicide Squad' Opens to Big $133.7M But Drops Sharply Saturday

Warner Bros.
'Suicide Squad'

The final number is down from Sunday's estimated $135 million, but the anti-superhero film still easily beats 'Guardians of the Galaxy' to nab the top August domestic debut of all time while opening to $133.3 million overseas; elsewhere, 'Nine Lives' — featuring award-winning actor Kevin Spacey as a feline — doesn't have much of a meow.

David Ayer's Suicide Squad may have opened to an August-best $133.7 million at the North American box office, but bad reviews and so-so audience reaction are already taking their toll, according to final weekend numbers. That's down somewhat from Sunday's estimate of $135 million.

After pulling in an impressive $65.1 million on Friday, it looked like the Warner Bros. tentpole, playing in 4,255 theaters, would debut to $145 million-$150 million. But traffic slowed dramatically throughout Saturday, or 41 percent day-over-day, a far steeper drop than other successful superhero movies (2012's The Dark Knight Rises also dropped 41 percent, but that movie was impacted by the Aurora shooting).

Overseas, Suicide Squad amassed $133.3 million in its debut in 57 markets (up from Sunday's estimated $132 million), the second-best showing for a DC superhero title after Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($256.5 million) and the biggest August launch of any film. That puts Suicide Squad's global bow at $267 million. (Batman v. Superman had the advantage of opening day-and-date in China, where Suicide Squad won't get a berth).

It can't be denied that Suicide Squad posted one of the best openings of the year to date domestically — thanks to a savvy marketing campaign, including a high-profile stop at San Diego Comic-Con — as well as wresting the August crown from Marvel and Disney's likewise offbeat superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy, which debuted to a surprise $94.3 million in 2014 on its way to earning a better-than-expected $773.3 million globally, including $333.2 million domestically. It also marks Will Smith's biggest opening; his previous best was 2007's I Am Legend ($77.2 million).

"From my perspective this was an awesome weekend. August has never seen a $200 million-plus weekend in domestic box-office revenue. So this was a record weekend driven by Suicide Squad," said Warner Bros. distribution chief Jeff Goldstein, who isn't concerned about the Saturday drop. "And August has tremendous multiples since we won't be bombarded with big movies opening up every weekend."

The big question heading into the weekend was whether the latest film in Warners' growing DC Extended Universe could beat another irreverent superhero offering: Fox and Marvel's Deadpool. It did, but barely. Deadpool posted a three-day debut of $132.4 million over Valentine's Day/Presidents Day weekend in February, a record for an R-rated film. Deadpool's four-day holiday gross was $152.2 million on its way to grossing $773.3 million globally.

Suicide Squad — boasting a friendlier PG-13 rating — has been savaged by critics and currently suffers a 26 percent rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That's one point behind the 27 percent rating for fellow DCEU title Batman v. Superman, which debuted to a hefty $166.7 million in March, but fell off more quickly than expected in the following weeks.

Now, Suicide Squad's ultimate playability also is in question after receiving a B+ CinemaScore from North American audiences. While it's better than the B awarded to Batman v. Superman, movies have much better legs when receiving some variation of an A. 

The critical response to both films isn't good news for Warner Bros. as it tries to compete with Marvel. One victory: Over the weekend, Warners crossed $1 billion in 2016 revenue at the domestic box office, becoming the only studio to achieve the feat 16 years in a row.

Ayer's film certainly doesn't lack for star power and follows a group of dangerous comic book villains — played by Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo) and Cara Delevingne (Enchantress) — who are recruited to fight off a deadly threat. Jared Leto also stars as the Joker, while Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis round out the cast.

The biggest surprise in terms of audience makeup was the strong turnout among females, who made up 46 percent of Friday's audience, according to exit polling service CinemaScore. That's unusual for a superhero film. However, leading polling service PostTrak shows a different demo breakdown, with females making up 42 percent to 43 percent of the audience.

Moviegoers under the age of 18 liked the movie best, giving it an A. Insiders at Warners are hopeful this translates into strong midweek business before school resumes. Those under 35 gave it an A-.

Suicide Squad performed nicely in Imax theaters, which delivered an August-best $12 million in North America and $7.2 million overseas. 

Among overall international highlights, Suicide Squad paced ahead of Guardians and Deadpool. The movie debuted to $13.9 million in the U.K., capturing 56 percent of the market. Russia followed with $11.3 million, the biggest debut ever for a Warners title. Brazil also ponied up $11.3 million, despite competition from the Summer Olympics. South Korea and Australia were next up with $10.7 million and $10.6 million, respectively.

The weekend's other new nationwide offering in North America was EuropaCorp and director Barry Sonnenfeld's Nine Lives, a family-friendly film starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as a neglectful dad turned into a cat. Jennifer Garner co-stars in the movie, which also has been savaged by critics and likewise earned a B+ CinemaScore.

Nine Lives didn't have much of a meow, opening to $6.2 million from 3,264 theaters for a sixth-place finish.

Among holdovers, Universal's Jason Bourne, starring Matt Damon, fell to No. 2 in its second weekend, tumbling 62 percent to $22.7 million for a domestic total of $103.4 million. That's a much bigger drop than the first three Bourne films starring Damon; one complicating factor was competition from Suicide Squad. Overseas, the spy action film grossed $20.9 million from 56 markets for a foreign total of $91.9 million and global cume of $195.4 million.

STX's female-skewing comedy Bad Moms fell a relatively slim drop of 40 percent in its second outing. The R-rated film, holding at No. 3, earned $14.2 million for a domestic total of $51.1 million. Internationally, where American comedies face a tough road, Bad Moms opened in nine new markets, grossing $2.9 million from a total of 21 territories for an early foreign cume of $5.5 million.

Illumination Entertainment and Universal's The Secret Life of Pets and Paramount's Star Trek Beyond rounded out the top five with an estimated $11.6 million and $10.3 million, respectively.

Secret Life of Pets barked past the $500 million global mark after earning another $68.6 million overseas from 41 markets for a foreign total of $182.6 million and domestic cume of $319.6 million. Through Sunday, the animated film has earned $502.2 million all told.

Star Trek Beyond earned another $5.3 million from 40 markets for a foreign cume of $66.5 million and worldwide tally of $194.5 million to date.

Aug. 8, 3:15 p.m. Updated with final weekend numbers for Suicide Squad and Nine Lives.

 

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