August 6, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Suicide Squad” Starts Huge, But Will It Hold Or Flame Out?


SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) was expected to explode past all August box office records, and so far, that’s what it’s doing.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, opening day was as high as $65M (including $20.5M from Thursday night), obliterating the $37.8M for Guardians of the Galaxy, and the weekend will gallop beyond Guardians‘s $94.3M, to $135M+.  But we’ve been here before, just a few months ago with Batman v Superman.  That one destroyed the previous March records with $81.6M on opening day and a $166M weekend.  BvS was profitable, and with $325M+ in production/marketing costs, Suicide Squad will be too.  However, the narrative on BvS quickly became its plunge due to terrible word of mouth, as it dropped 38% on its 2d day of release (compared to 18% for Guardians and 10% for Deadpool), and 69% on its 2d weekend (compared to 55%/45%).  Despite its profitability, BvS is now widely considered a failure for the DC/Warners brand, and the pieces are in place for a potential repeat with Suicide Squad, considering its awful reviews (26% on Rotten Tomatoes, even worse than BvS‘s 27%).  Suicide also won’t be helped by the news that it’s unlikely to be permitted a release in China, a $95.8M territory for BvS.  We’ll know much more about Suicide‘s longterm prospects on Sunday.

The weekend’s only other wide release was NINE LIVES (Europa), a dead kitty with $2.9M on Friday and perhaps $8M for the weekend.  Cue the studio’s claims that the movie’s existence is solely attributable to a now-former executive, and that it has limited exposure on the $70M+ in production/marketing costs.

The combination of Suicide Squad and lousy audience response decimated JASON BOURNE (Perfect World/Universal), which plummeted 73% from last Friday to $6.1M, and may not get much past $20M for the weekend.  That would be a drop over 60%, compared to 53% for The Bourne Ultimatum, and the same for the Matt Damon-less Bourne LegacyJason Bourne may not reach $150M in the US, which would make it the lowest Damon title in the franchise since the original Bourne Identity in 2002, and yet another franchise installment that won’t get much past breakeven.

Suicide Squad had much less effect on BAD MOMS (H Brothers/Tang/STX), down 57% from last Friday to $4.1M, with a 50% drop to $12M for the weekend.  That’s better than the 58% Weekend 2 drop for The Boss, although not as strong as the 43% for Trainwreck, and not in a league with the 20% for Bridesmaids or 37% for Horrible Bosses, and Moms could hit a tidy $75M in the US.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Illumination/Universal) also proceeded without much difficulty, down 38% Friday-to-Friday to $3.5M for a $11M weekend, as it strives toward $350M in the US.

NERVE (Lionsgate) was cushioned for comparison purposes by the fact that last Friday was its 3rd day of release, and with $1.6M for the day, it could have a $5M weekend that puts it on track for a mild $35M or so in the US.

The lackluster franchise news continued for STAR TREK BEYOND (Skydance/Alibaba/Huahua/Paramount), down 58% from last Friday to $2.8M, and on its way to a $9M weekend and $150M in the US; GHOSTBUSTERS (Village Roadshow/Columbia/Sony), down 52% to $1.4M, for a $5M weekend and $125M in the US; and ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE (Blue Sky/20th), down 58% to $1.4M, for a $5M weekend and $65M US total.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."