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‘The Suicide Squad’ Falls Below Pre-Release Expectations With $25 Million Opening Weekend

R-rated DC film grossed $12.1 million on Friday

Warner Bros’ “The Suicide Squad” is falling behind box office projections this weekend, earning $12.1 million on Friday from 4,002 screens to earn an estimated $25 million opening weekend.

Prior to the weekend, James Gunn’s R-rated DC film had been projected for a $30 million opening, close to the $31 million launch seen last month for fellow Warner release “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and the $33 million earned by DC’s “Birds of Prey” in February 2020.

Like all Warner Bros. films, “The Suicide Squad” has also been released on HBO Max at no extra charge. It is difficult at this point to determine how much the film’s performance is being affected by that streaming availability and by other factors like its R rating. Warner Bros., however, has found record-breaking R-rated hits prior to the pandemic with “It” and “Joker.”

The good news is that unlike the 2016 “Suicide Squad,” reception has been very positive. While the film received a B+ CinemaScore grade — same as the first “Suicide Squad” as audiences over 35 weighed down the grade — Rotten Tomatoes scores stand at 92% critics and 87% audience with a 4/5 on Postrak. The previous “Suicide Squad,” by contrast, had a score of 26% critics and 59% audience. If this strong reception leads to positive word of mouth, the film could avoid a substantial Friday-to-Saturday drop.

Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” is in second with an industry-estimated $14.8 million grossed in its second weekend, a decent 58% drop from the film’s $35 million opening weekend that gives it a 10-day total of $64 million. Universal’s “Old” is in a distant third with $3.8 million in its third weekend, giving it an estimated domestic total of $38 million.

In fourth is Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow,” which on Thursday passed “F9” to become the highest-grossing post-shutdown release at the domestic box office. With $3.5 million in its fifth weekend, “Black Widow” now has a total of $173.9 million compared to $170.9 million for “F9.”

Focus Features’ “Stillwater” and A24’s “The Green Knight” are in a tight race for the final spot in the Top 5, with industry estimates currently giving the edge to “Stillwater” with $2.4 million in its second weekend and a $9.5 million 10-day total. “The Green Knight” is just behind with $2.31 and a 10-day total of $11.8 million.

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