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5 Reasons Why ‘Suicide Squad’ Slayed at the Box Office

Will Smith and Margot Robbie drew diverse and young audiences in droves

One thing’s for sure, “Suicide Squad” is not your grandmother’s movie.

The film made a whopping estimated box office take of $135.1 million this weekend.

And its success is due in large part to interest among young audiences as well as audiences of color.

In spite of critical pans, the movie came out on top, shattering the August opening record previously held by Disney-Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

“Obviously there was a disconnect from what reviewers wrote and what audiences felt after seeing the movie,” Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. Executive Vice President of domestic film distribution, told TheWrap.

The film’s massive debut also helped the studio cross the $1 billion mark, making Warner Bros. the only film production and distribution outfit to exceed $1 billion at the domestic box office 16 years in a row. (The studio has surpassed $1 billion 17 out of last 18 years, which is also an Industry record.)

Here are five reasons why “Suicide Squad” slayed at the box office this weekend:

1. Will Smith hit the bullseye.
The anti-hero mashup’s massive opening marks the first time a Will Smith movie has exceeded $100 million upon its debut. His gun-slinging Deadshot proved to be a huge draw for audiences, as 23 percent of those surveyed through comScore’s PostTrak said they went to the movie to see him. Smith, already clued into the movie’s huge debut estimates, said it himself during a recent ABC interview: “I’m back!”

2. Margot Robbie pulled people in.
PostTrak data had 21 percent of those surveyed listing the Aussie actress, who plays Harley Quinn, as a key reason they went to see it.

3. Diversity paid off.
The film’s lead cast represented an ethnic melting pot of actors. In turn, casting diverse leads brought in more people, with 34 percent of those surveyed indicating the ensemble cast of villains was the main reason they went to see “Squad.” Indeed, the movie’s opening marks the biggest of all time for Robbie, Jared Leto, director David Ayer, as well as the rest of the leading cast. African American and Hispanic moviegoers made up a huge part of the “Suicide Squad” audience. According to PostTrak, those two demographics gave the film a combined, massive 81 percent positive score.

4. Millennials were way into it.
The film’s biggest fans skewed young. According to Cinemascore surveys, 76 percent of those under 35 gave the movie a grade of A- and 28 percent of those surveyed under the age of 18 gave it a solid A. The overall score was pulled down by older audiences, as 24 percent of those over 35 gave it a B+.

5. Social media made a big difference. 
The first indication of this was when Ayer shared a first look photo of Jared Leto as The Joker and it nearly broke the internet. That was just the start of an ongoing rollout of photos and teaser videos shared by Leto, Cara Delevingne, Margot Robbie and other cast members. The result: “Suicide Squad” inspired a total of more than 2.1 million conversations on social media, according to comScore’s latest PreAct results.