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.
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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.