There was no other outcome than The Suicide Squad topping the box office, and it was guaranteed to completely decimate the pandemic-era records for an R-rated movie, the only question was how high it could realistically fly. At the beginning of the week, projections were touting a debut that could end up as high as $40 million, but the truth is a lot more disappointing.
James Gunn’s R-rated comic book actioner hauled in an estimated $26.5 million, still the highest total for an adult-orientated film since COVID-19 locked the industry in its vice grip, but even the lower end of estimates were tracking for at least $30 million. A combination of Gunn’s popularity from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and rave reviews had analysts hoping for the best, but there’s already very little chance the $185 million blockbuster is going to be profitable.
Eventually business will return to normal, but the longer this goes on, the further away that day seems to get. Some good news, though, is that Black Widow surpassed Fast & Furious 9 to become the highest-grossing domestic release in close to a year and a half, having now passed $174 million. Jungle Cruise is also holding well, with last week’s winner dropping a so-so 55% to add another $15 million, a decent decline when Space Jam: A New Legacy and the MCU’s Phase Four opener each took a hit of almost 70%.
An R-rated effort like The Suicide Squad hauling in $26.5 million in times like these is a good start given the circumstances, but the studio would have been hoping for a much higher number, and it’s only going to spend a single week at the summit with Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy hitting theaters this coming Friday.