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Weekend Box Office Report: ‘Suicide Squad’ Breaks August Records

Suicide Squad
Warner Bros.

Despite receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews, Suicide Squad opened with record-smashing numbers, obliterating the record set by Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2014. And yet, the box office of summer 2016 has taught us one thing: anything can happen after that opening weekend and it probably will. This certainly looks like a huge victory for Warner Bros. and their DC Extended Universe right now, but who knows what next week will bring?

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Suicide Squad $135,105,000 $31,752 $135,105,000
2 Jason Bourne $22,710,000 (-61.6) $5,623 $103,416,000
3 Bad Moms $14,204,000 (-40.4) $4,418 $51,050,000
4 The Secret Life of Pets $11,560,000 (-38.9) $3,383 $319,578,000
5 Star Trek Beyond $10,200,000 (-58.8) 
$3,126 $127,901,000
6 Nine Lives $6,500,000 $2,871 $6,500,000
7 Lights Out $6,005,000 (-44.4) $2,327 $54,714,000
8 Nerve $4,900,000 (-48.1) $1,931 $26,888,000
9 Ghostbusters $4,800,000 (-52.6) $1,886 $116,711,000
10 Ice Age: Collision Course $4,300,000 (-60.9) $1,570 $53,539,000

With a three-day gross of $135 million, Suicide Squad is the undisputed king of the August box office, leaving that $94 million Guardians of the Galaxy opening in the dust. Interestingly, both films are birds of a feather: superhero movies starring mostly unknown characters that have used smart advertising and clever trailers to convince audiences to take a chance on them. However, the big difference is that Guardians was critically beloved and audiences embraced it in a huge way in the long run. Suicide Squad is already fighting to overcome negative reviews and it’s not yet clear how mainstream audiences will respond to it and if they’ll tell all of their friends to go see it come Monday morning. After all, Batman v Superman suffered a peculiar fate earlier this year, opening huge despite negative notices and making a ton of money, but not enough money, quickly dropping off as audiences rejected the movie. Next weekend is going to be key — the initial percentage drop-off will tell us everything we need to know about the film’s legs in the weeks ahead.

Case in point: Jason Bourne fell to second place this weekend, but that 61% drop is telling. The big opening confirmed that yes, people wanted to see Matt Damon back in this role; the second weekend is audiences declaring that the film itself simply didn’t scratch the right itch. With this $22 million weekend and a current gross of $103 million, it should soon soar past The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Legacy, but it has a long way to go it it wants to hit the heights of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.

In third place, Bad Moms hung on quite well, grossing $14 million for a $53 million total. At this rate, the $20 million production is well on its way to being a sleeper hit, especially if it can continue to play reasonably well throughout the rest of August. Like many comedies, it was built to play the long game at the box office. Word of mouth is key.

Speaking of films with strong legs, The Secret Life of Pets continued to impress in fourth place, grossing $11 million for a $319 million total. It will soon outgross Zootopia at the domestic box office, which is huge victory. It’ll most likely peter out before $400 million, but animated talking animal movies are one of the only sure bets this year, so don’t count it out. Unless you’re  Ice Age: Collision Course, which is about to exit the top 10 after limping to $53 million. Insert your own joke here about this franchise being put on ice, etc.

The rest of the top 10 is all over the place. Star Trek Beyond is going to crack $150 million, but it may not get too much further (and it definitely won’t come close to the grosses of the previous two movies). We can safely call Ghostbusters a financial disappointment. Nerve failed to find its audience. Nine Lives did the exact kind of business you’d expect from a live action “man gets trapped in the body of a cat” movie released in 2016.  Lights Out, however, is a bonafide hit, having made $54 million against a $5 million budget and showcasing stronger endurance than your average horror movie.

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