Suicide Squad is all the rage with fans – for now – breaking August box office records and besting both Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool with an impressive $135.1 million dollar opening.
But for all its out-of-the-gate success however, Harley Quinn and company face a major challenge this coming weekend. Can they keep the momentum going or will they suffer the massive drop-off faced by another critically-maligned DC tent pole film, Batman V Superman?
As reported by USA Today, Suicide Squad took in "the biggest August debut ever" with $135.1 million at the weekend box office.
"Its No. 1 opening smashes a record set by Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014 when that Disney/Marvel movie blasted off with $94.3 million on its way to $333.2 million. It also narrowly outpaced February's opening of another dark superhero comedy, Deadpool, which started with $132.4 million."
But not everything is sunshine and roses for the villains-only flick starring Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as the aforementioned Harley Quinn, and Oscar winner Jared Leto as The Joker. Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, focused on the bad reviews critics gave it prior to release as an indicator for its potential long term success. The film also still need to recoup their $175 million dollar production budget, not to mention the marketing campaign rumored to be around the same mark, for it to be qualified as a hit.
"The reviews are usually a barometer of a big drop next weekend. I don't know that it'll be as bad as Batman v Superman (which tumbled 69% after opening with $166 million in March) but it's still not quite on par with what Marvel is doing. All their films received really high marks across the board."And not to pile on, but Slash Film indicated that Suicide Squad took a big drop from Friday to Saturday, on par with what Batman V Superman did earlier this spring, as well.
"Suicide Squad made a huge $65.1 million at the Friday box office," SlashFilm noted, "but most industry analysts took note that the film had a huge drop from Friday to Saturday. Box office revenue dramatically declined 41 percent from Friday to Saturday. This decrease is worse than Batman V Superman's drop, which fell only 37.9 percent from its large Friday opening."
While noting that Guardians of the Galaxy -- a Marvel film that makes for a good comparison in that it too opened in August and featured unfamiliar superheroes in an expanded universe -- only fell 18 percent by contrast, the biggest reason Suicide Squad could suffer long term is both a testament and mark against the Warner Bros. marketing campaign that was launched prior to the film's release.
"One thing can't be denied: the marketing for Suicide Squad was amazing. Warner Bros' marketing department should win awards for the marketing campaign for this film, and it certainly got people interested, but unfortunately a lot of moviegoers seem to be finding that the fun film they're selling isn't the dark and violent film which is in theaters. No wonder the film is trending down thanks to the resulting negative buzz in both reviews and online social media."
Unlike Batman V Superman however, there is still hope for the film's long term success. Where Zack Snyder took heat for creating a film that didn't truly represent the iconic characters according to most fans, Suicide Squad is comprised of relative unknowns, giving fans some latitude when it comes to their expectations going in. Combined with the poor critical reception, fans may wander into the theaters next weekend for curiosity sake and without any heightened expectations to see "their" versions of any character onscreen.
And as reported by many sites, including VOX, Margot Robbie's portrayal of beloved Harley Quinn should not only attract audiences back for a second round of Suicide Squad, but also get butts in seats for the proposed solo film that's in development.
[Image via Suicide Squad]