The Suicide Squad topped the weekend box office with an estimated $26.5 million in North America. But the Warner Bros. -DC Comics superhero saga failed to muscle up enough strength to meet analyst expectations, which had it opening in the $30 million to $40 million range.
The R-rated action adventure from director James Gunn debuted in 4,002 locations for a per theater average of $6,634, according to Comscore.
Eighty five percent of theaters in the U.S. and Canada are currently open as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, however, fears about the Delta variant may have kept some moviegoers away from theaters.
“With every high-profile movie release comes the analysis as to the factors that contributed their box office performance and The Suicide Squad is no exception,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, told Urban Hollywood 411 on Sunday. “If we were to hop in the way back machine and rewind to 2019, the results would have naturally been significantly stronger for the film, but that could be said for virtually any film released in 2021 given the now almost customary hybrid releases, shortened theatrical windows and of course the Pandemic-effect that hovers over the entire marketplace.”
As with its other new releases during the pandemic, Warner Bros. rolled out the film simultaneously on HBO Max. The streaming option may have prompted some fans to stream the movie instead of going to theaters.
By comparison, Warner Bros.’ previous Suicide Squad opened domestically with $133.6 million in 2016. The earlier film was directed by David Ayer and arrived in theaters long before anyone imagined a global pandemic would decimate the box office.
The new film features a collection of antiheroes in the DC lineup, and stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Michael Rooker, Peter Capaldi, Viola Davis, Nathan Fillion, Joel Kinnaman, Taika Waititi, Jai Courtney, David Dastmalchian, Storm Reid, Pete Davidson, and Daniela Melchior.
Despite delivering massive star power, the movie’s $26.5 million debut came in far behind Disney-Marvel’s Black Widow, which opened in early July with a pandemic-era record of $80 million. Universal’s F9 debuted in June with $70 million, and Disney’s The Jungle Cruise premiered last weekend with $34.1 million.
This weekend, Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, slipped to second place with $15.6 million.
The M. Night Shyamalan thriller Old came in third with $4.1 million. Black Widow was fourth with $4 million and Stillwater rounded out the top five with $2.8 million.