‘The Suicide Squad’ Tops Box Office Despite Lukewarm $26.5M Opening Weekend

Movie theatergoing has made a comeback over the last few months, thanks to the high number of vaccinations (that still isn’t high enough), but a number of would-be blockbusters have underperformed, or worse. Perhaps the biggest bomb happened this weekend. The Suicide Squad, DC’s $185-million quasi-sequel to the critically and director-derided but hugely profitable 2016 original, stumbled into theaters, raking in only $26.5 million.

via: Complex

The movie took in an additional $45.7 million in foreign markets, bringing its global tally to $72.2 million.

Despite leading domestic box office charts, the film’s U.S. tally came in under industry expectations, which projected the film to make around $30 million. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is contributing The Suicide Squad’s disappointing start to growing concern over the Delta variant of COVID-19, as well as its theatrical-home launch on HBO Max at no extra charge to subscribers.

“This weekend’s performance of The Suicide Squad shows yet again the unpredictability of a theatrical marketplace whose success rises, and falls based on an ever-evolving set of disparate factors including not only the usual film-centric metrics, but also the impact of concerning pandemic news on consumer behavior,” Comscore’s Paul Dergarabedian told the Hollywood Reporter. “Of course, the day and date release of any film has implications, but in today’s environment it’s too simplistic to analyze a movie’s performance based on that variable alone since there are so many moving parts.”

Arriving five years after director David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad, which starred Will Smith, Jared Leto, and Margot Robbie, the reboot sees Robbie return as Harley Quinn alongside a star-studded cast featuring Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Peter Capaldi.

Speaking with Complex this week about the film, director James Gunn praised Warner Bros. for allowing him to take risks.

“I think I really did just trust myself for the first time ever to create something that took all the risks,” Gunn shares. “I felt a lot of responsibility because I was being given money to make this big, huge film. And I knew that not too many directors have had this much money to make a movie that could still take risks. For the sake of fans, for the sake of myself, for the sake of cinema in general, to be able to do something that goes outside the box in this forum was important to me.”

Another reason for The Suicide Squad’s thin performance in actual movie theaters: a little thing called the pandemic, which has recently ramped back up thanks to a little thing called the Delta variant. If it’s true that The Suicide Squad outperformed even the second Wonder Woman, then it appears people simply felt safer clicking a couple buttons at home than shlepping out for an expensive night at the movies filled with people who might not be taking a once-in-a-century public health crisis seriously.

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