‘Don’t Breathe’ Defies Forecasts With $26.1 Million Debut, More Than Double Expectations

“Suicide Squad” dethroned; “Mechanic: Resurrection” meets predictions

After three straight weekends at No. 1, Warner Bros.’ comic-book hit “Suicide Squad” finally went down as Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films’ new horror thriller “Don’t Breathe” charged to the top spot.

The scary movie gained a huge amount of momentum over the weekend, more than doubling initial box office expectations to earn estimated grosses of $26.1 million from 3,051 screens.

“Suicide Squad,” from Warner Bros. and starring Will SmithMargot Robbie and Jared Leto, settled into second place, making $12.1 million in domestic weekend grosses, which is also ahead of earlier estimates. The movie’s cumulative gross stands at $282.9 million.

The percentage drop trajectory for “Suicide Squad” has been in line with that of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Animated feature “Kubo and the Two Strings” came in third with $7.9 million in its second weekend and R-rated animated movie “Sausage Party” made fourth place, grossing an estimated $7.7 million in its third weekend.

Meanwhile, Summit Premiere’s R-rated action sequel “Mechanic: Resurrection” barely managed fifth place with an estimated $7.5 million, apparently edging out Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon,” which grossed an expected $7.3 million (though Monday actuals will reflect the true and final ranking as third-through-sixth place are all very close calls this weekend).

“Don’t Breathe” is produced by horror guru Sam Raimi and directed and co-written by Fede Alvarez. It stars Jane LevyDylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang. The R-rated horror thriller was produced for under $10 million and has received positive reviews, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 87 percent. Moviegoers surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a B+.

Earlier this week, distributor Sony anticipated “Don’t Breathe” would pull in a total of $11 million to $12 million this weekend. Other trackers had previously set it closer to $13 million, which tells you just how much the new title over-performed.

The movie, following a group of friends who decide to rob a wealthy blind man, made $10 million on Friday alone.

Other modestly budgeted scary movies, including “The Shallows” and “Purge: Election Year,” have also opened strongly this summer.

This is a time of year when other similar R-rated movies have opened nicely. “As Above, So Below” debuted to $8 million in 2014; “You’re Next” netted $7 million in its first weekend in 2011; and last summer “Sinister 2” scooped up $10 million.

“Mechanic: Resurrection” made $2.6 million during Friday night screenings in 2,258 theaters.

The second “Mechanic” movie has Jason Statham reprising his role as reformed hitman Arthur Bishop, forced to reignite his killing skills in order to save the woman he loves from kidnappers.

While its three-day weekend grosses are coming in lower than initial expectations of $10 million, it’s still in line with studio estimates that had it somewhere between $6 million and $8 million. Seeing as the film is very modestly budgeted and acquired by Summit for less than $10 million, its opening in North America sets the stage for profitability as it also opened to similar grosses in the UK, where Statham is hugely popular.

The “Mechanic” sequel has a low 26 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and a  B+ Cinemascore.

The Top Five:
1. “Don’t Breathe” (Sony) — $26.1 million in Week 1 ($26.1 million total)
2. “Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros.) — $12.1 million in Week 4 ($282.9 million total)
3. “Kubo and the Two Strings” (Focus) — $7.9 million in Week 2 ($24.9 million total)
4. “Sausage Party” (Sony) — $7.7 million in Week 3 ($80 million total)
5. “Mechanic: Resurrection” (Lionsgate) — $7.5 million in Week 1 ($7.5 million total)