Sunday, August 7, 2016

Suicide Squad Has Massive But Troubling Opening Weekend While Nine Lives Get Neutered At The Box Office

For the second time in 2016, Warner Bros. released a movie based on DC Comics characters that earned dismal reviews that grossed a massive opening weekend that was also troubling front-loaded. Suicide Squad obliterated the August opening weekend record over the past three days, grossing a massive $135 million, an insane amount given that the Suicide Squad was mostly comprised of unknown character (though legitimate A-list comic book characters The Joker and Harley Quinn factored heavily into the marketing). In three days, it's also already the 12th biggest movie ever for Will Smith and the biggest movie ever for both Margot Robbie and Jared Leto.

So, all in all, this is a complete unequivocal superhero movie box office success like the Avengers movies or The Dark Knight sequels right? Actually, there are a number of warning signs in play that indicate Suicide Squad is gonna have a super shelf life at the box office. Most notably, that 41% decline from Friday-to-Saturday, one of the biggest ever for a major summer blockbuster. That's a bigger Friday-to-Saturday than both Avengers movies, Guardians Of The Galaxy and even last August's box office disaster Fantastic Four. It's even slightly bigger than the 38% dip Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice experienced from its first-to-second day of release. Plus, making 48% of your opening weekend just from Friday alone makes it one of the most front-loaded blockbusters in history.

The problem Warner Bros. has with the DC Extended Universe at this point is not with their marketing team or the appeal of their characters, but rather, with the fact that they keep turning out shitty movies that fail to even give audiences the most basic elements general moviegoers want out of summer blockbusters. People went to see Batman v. Superman hoping for a superhero brawl, what they got was Holly Hunter staring at a jar of urine and incoherence. People went to Suicide Squad in hopes of seeing bad guys kicking ass, what they got was non-stop lectures on the main characters and very little in the way of the fun group dynamics that marked Guardians Of The Galaxy and The Avengers. Good marketing and brand recognition gets you a great opening day and even a good opening weekend, but that's not gonna give you a cinematic universe to rival what Marvel's got going on. Maybe make some movies that aren't total garbage and maybe you'll get somewhere Warner Bros. Then again, this things still gonna take in over $300 million domestically and maybe over $700 million worldwide, so maybe all it takes is a good trailer and branding. How sad for the state of cinema, though it's not like this has never happened before (the Transformers movies anyone?). Anywho, Suicide Squad is probably gonna have a heavy second-weekend decline, though in the long run it'll probably hold a tad better than BvS thanks to less competition in August and the Labor Day holiday weekend. I'd peg Suicide Squad currently ending its domestic run in the neighborhood of $315-325 million domestically.

In a distant second place God, that's Jason Bourne! Bourne lost a steep 62% this weekend to gross another $22.7 million, a far bigger decline than any of the other Bourne movies for a ten-day total of $103.4 million. While it's unlikely to have such massive weekend-to-weekend declines in the weeks to come, it's hard to imagine Jason Bourne making much more than $150 million in its domestic run. Bad Moms, meanwhile, had a solid 40% dip that resulted in a $14.2 million second-weekend. Bad Moms has now grossed $51 million in ten days and should end its domestic run in the vicinity of $85-90 million, a great sum for the low-budget comedy.

The Secret Life Of Pets continues to wag its tail at the box office, to the point where I'm obviously out of pet-themed puns to describe its success. Dipping 39% this frame, Pets took in another $11.5 million to bring its domestic haul to a great $319.5 million. Rounding out the top five was Star Trek Beyond, which suffered yet another hefty decline, this time losing 59% to gross another $10.2 million to bring its 17-day domestic total to an underwhelming $127.9 million that's far beneath its predecessors at the same point.

Right outside the top ten was the only other wide release newcomer this weekend, Nine Lives, which grossed $6.5 million, the eighth-best opening weekend ever for a body switch comedy and the sixth worst opening weekend ever for a Kevin Spacey movie that bowed in wide release. The second-straight box office dud for EuropaCorp's U.S. self-distribution division (which previously released The Transporter Refueled and will release Shut In and Miss Sloane on the docket to be released this year), this one was doomed from the start thanks to a marketing campaign that could never make the movie look like anything more than a parody trailer that might come up as a sketch on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show. With the next two weeks bringing two notable family movies, expect Nine Lives to move to a nice farm upstate very shortly.

Lights Out continued to be a strong box office performer, losing only 44% this frame to gross another $6 million, bringing its domestic total to a strong $54.7 million, surpassing the domestic cume of the original Insidious movie. Meanwhile, Nerve dropped 48% in its second weekend, adding $4.9 million to its solid $28.8 million domestic cume. Ghostbusters had another large dip this weekend, dropping 52% to gross another $4.8 million, bringing this movies domestic cume to an OK but under expectations $116.7 million. Finally, Ice Age: Collision Course rounded out the top ten and had the second largest drop of any film in the top ten, losing 61% to gross only $4.3 million. Ice Age: Collision Course has now only grossed $53.5 million domestically and will likely end its entire domestic run with a gross south of what Ice Age: The Meltdown brought in in its opening weekend a decade ago.

Cafe Society expanded into wide release this weekend to decent results, dipping only 27% to gross another $1.7 million. Cafe Society has now taken in $6.7 million, and unless it drops pretty dramatically in the weeks to come, it looks like it'll end its domestic run in the $10 million vicinity of past Woody Allen efforts like Magic In The Moonlight. Don't Think Twice brought its theater count to 57 locations for a third-weekend sum of $395,697 and a decent per-theater-average of $6,941. No word on what kind of further theater expansion it could have in the weeks to come.

The top 12 this weekend grossed $223.9 million, an 85% increase over this same weekend last year when Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation was the number one movie in America for the second straight weekend in a row while Fantastic Four became one of the biggest superhero movie bombs ever. Oh, and this is the biggest August weekend ever by a long shot.

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