The wave of mostly negative reviews and controversy about alleged studio meddling wasn't going to prevent Suicide Squad from becoming a rare bona fide box office hit this summer. Warner Bros. had put together a stellar marketing campaign that was gleefully kinetic in its execution, making the latest from director David Ayer seem like a fun romp through the DC Extended Universe. Even as the review embargo lifted and terms like "messy" and "choppy" were used to describe the movie, it still set records for most ticket pre-sales in August, indicating that audience interest remained high.
Suicide Squad pulled in $20 million domestically just from Thursday night preview screenings, setting the stage for a $140 million debut - the high end of its commercial projections. As the studio awaits the final tally for the weekend, they've already made their way into the history books, shattering the August opening day mark by a considerable margin.
Per Box Office Mojo, Suicide Squad grossed $65.1 million on Friday, August 5. Those numbers include the money made from the Thursday night showings. To put that figure in perspective, Guardians of the Galaxy previously held the August opening day record with a far more modest $37.8 million, en route to a $94.3 million first weekend. Even if Suicide Squad sees a slight decrease in business over the next couple of days due to mixed word-of-mouth, it should still be able to set a new all-time high for August opening weekend.
Suicide Squad is also performing very well internationally, as the worldwide total currently stands at $129.7 million. The film's production budget (which typically does not include marketing costs) was estimated to be around $175 million, so there's a chance the movie makes back all of those costs in just a single weekend. The villain team-up is all but guaranteed to join the ranks of Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, and The Secret Life of Pets as unbridled financial successes. Many tentpoles have struggled at the box office this year, even those that were well-received. Star Trek Beyond, which is currently in its third week of release, has made just $176.6 million globally on a $185 million budget.
It was always expected Suicide Squad would post high totals as it first entered theaters. The bigger question now is how strong its legs will be. One only has to look at the noticeable drop-off Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice saw during its second weekend for a possible comparison. Like its DCEU predecessors, Suicide Squad has plenty of fans, but there are also many who didn't like the film. Casual audiences who weren't sold on the Worst. Heroes. Ever. may choose to wait until home media, opting for other projects like Sausage Party or Pete's Dragon, both of which are getting positive reviews. This will be interesting to keep track of.
In the meantime, WB has reason to celebrate. While the critical reaction to Suicide Squad was hardly what they were hoping for, they can take solace in the fact that moviegoers were thrilled to see these characters on the big screen, and the introductions of fan-favorites such as the Joker, Harley Quinn, and Deadshot pave the way for them to appear in future installments. The general consensus was that the cast of Suicide Squad was great, they were just let down by the story around them. With a tighter script for Suicide Squad 2, maybe a sequel can deliver on all cylinders.
Suicide Squad is in theaters now. Wonder Woman opens on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash and Batman solo movie are currently without release dates.
Source: Box Office Mojo