Suicide Squad rockets past August record with $135M debut

In the comic book movie box office slugfest, Warner Bros./DC finally won a round over Marvel Studios. Suicide Squad’s opening weekend set a new August debut record with $135 million. The previous record holder? Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which set the mark in 2014 with $94.3 million.

Critics haven’t been especially kind to the Squad. It currently has a 26% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m happy to be one of the few critics who gave it a fresh rating. Audiences weren’t scared off though and flocked to the theaters in droves despite the kickoff to the Olympic Summer Games. Positioned as the lead in this ensemble, Squad marks the biggest opening in Will Smith’s career. His previous best opening was I Am Legend’s $77 million.

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Assuming the estimates don’t drop when the official numbers are released, WB/DC would have two of the top three openings of the year. The year’s best opener remains Captain America: Civil War with $179 million.

The catch of course is how will the second weekend fare. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set a March box office record with a staggering $166 million opening. Its second weekend saw a massive 69% drop. The negative reception clearly impacted the film’s box office as it managed $330 million total. Suicide Squad benefits from what should be a relatively slow August. The biggest upcoming contenders are Pete’s Dragon and Sausage Party, which don’t seem to have a huge must-see buzz.

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Jason Bourne fell to second place with $22 million. That was good enough to bump its overall total to $103 million. It’s now a mere $10 million from overtaking the entire domestic theatrical run of The Bourne Legacy. Bourne will likely nestle in as the series’ third highest grossing. Topping the $227 million of The Bourne Ultimatum won’t be happening and The Bourne Supremacy’s $176 million might be well out of reach as well. Still, this is definitely a way to get the franchise back in gear.

Coming in at third was the second weekend for Bad Moms, which snagged $14 million. The strong performer already earned back its budget last week. Now with $50 million, it’s more than doubled it. Bad Moms has proven to be a quality hit for distributor STX Entertainment.

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The Secret Life of Pets added another $11.5 million taking its total to $319 million. That’s good enough for the year’s seventh highest grossing film. It seems very likely now it can catch up to and surpass Batman v Superman unless Pete’s Dragon has a strong debut.

At fifth place was Star Trek Beyond with $10.2 million. The third film in the rebooted series now stands at $127 million. While Suicide Squad already overtook its three week total gross, Beyond is the third highest grossing of the 13 film franchise. It only trails its two predecessors Star Trek ($257 million) and Star Trek Into Darkness ($228 million)

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