Movies

The Suicide Squad bombs at US box office

LOS ANGELES – The Suicide Squad, the M18-rated comic book adaptation directed by James Gunn, underwhelmed in its North American box office debut, collecting US$26.5 million (S$36m).

Those ticket sales were easily enough to lead domestic box office charts despite falling short of expectations heading into the weekend. 

There were several factors contributing to its less-than-stellar start, including but not limited to growing concern over the Delta variant of Covid-19, the Warner Bros. film’s hybrid release on HBO Max at no extra charge to subscribers and its rating. 

An opening weekend below US$30 million isn’t surprising, given the ongoing pandemic, but it’s disappointing because The Suicide Squad cost US$185 million to produce and many millions more to promote globally.

At the international box office, it added another US$35 million from 70 overseas territories, bringing its global tally to US$72.2 million.

The Suicide Squad serves as a do-over, of sorts, to the 2016 Warner Bros. movie about a group of expendable supervillains on a deadly mission. 

It brings back Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, but original stars Will Smith and Jared Leto didn’t return for the fresh spin on the DC Comics adaptation.

Though Robbie and Davis are A-listers, The Suicide Squad likely suffered from lack of star power and take won’t come close to reaching the ticket sales of the original, which kicked off with US$133 million and ended its run with US$746 million globally. 

Still, industry analysts thought The Suicide Squad would have a stronger launch because the film has excellent reviews, and its target audience of younger males have been among the most loyal moviegoers during the pandemic. 

Instead, The Suicide Squad didn’t collect much more than its fellow Warner Bros. and DC tentpole Wonder Woman 1984, which generated US$16.7 million last December at a time when only 35 per cent of movie theatres had reopened and the idea of a widely available vaccine felt like a far off dream.

Today, more than 85 per cent of US and Canadian cinemas have reopened, according to Comscore.

“Currently, this is an unforgiving market,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. 

“Under normal conditions, a strong marketing campaign can overcome a few drawbacks and generate a good weekend. Under current conditions, that isn’t happening.” - REUTERS

 

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