Warner Bros.’ “The Suicide Squad” had a somewhat underwhelming opening weekend at the box office, taking in a $26.5 million launch from 4,002 screens and falling below the $30 million target projected by the studio and independent trackers.
Overseas, the film grossed $35 million from 70 markets as the global box office continues to grapple with COVID-19 surges that are affecting turnout and, in some countries like Australia, keeping some theaters closed or under capacity restrictions. The film’s global total now stands at $72.2 million.
The $30 million projection mark was set based on the performance of recent films like “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and “Jungle Cruise,” which were released without theatrical exclusivity last month when COVID-19 cases began to surge again. Reception has also been much stronger than the original “Suicide Squad” released in 2016. While both films had a B+ on CinemaScore, James Gunn’s sequel has a 92% Rotten Tomatoes critics score and 88% audience score, compared to 27% critics and 59% audience for its predecessor.
But despite the praise and the film’s new status as the strongest post-shutdown opening for an R-rated film, “The Suicide Squad” has fallen below the $32.2 million Friday-Sunday total earned back in March by “Godzilla vs. Kong” and the $33 million opening earned by the last film to star Harley Quinn, “Birds of Prey.”
The box office results will likely start a new round of talks in the industry over whether the Delta variant is unwinding progress in getting the public comfortable in returning to theaters and how much the film’s simultaneous release on HBO Max affected theatrical turnout among casual audiences.
In second is Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” with $15.7 million in its second weekend, giving it a $65.3 million 10-day domestic total and a $121.8 million global total as it grossed $15.1 million overseas. That domestic result is just a 55% drop from the Dwayne Johnson film’s $35 million opening, a better hold than the 69% second-week drop taken by Warner Bros.’ “Space Jam: A New Legacy” after its $31 million start in July.
In third is Universal’s “Old” with $4.1 million in its third weekend, bringing its total to $38.5 million domestic and $68.1 million global. Sitting just behind it is Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” with $4 million in its fifth weekend, bringing its domestic total to a post-shutdown best $174.4 million, passing the $170 million of “F9.” Globally, “Black Widow” sits at a total of $360 million, not counting the undisclosed paid streaming revenue the film has generated from Disney+.
In a narrow race for fifth are Focus Features’ “Stillwater,” A24’s “The Green Knight” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” The No. 5 spot is currently projected to go to “Stillwater” with $2.8 million in its second weekend and a $10 million total after 10 days. “The Green Knight” is set to take $2.6 million for a $12.1 million 10-day total, while “Space Jam 2” is estimated for $2.4 million in its fourth weekend for a $65.6 million total.