Based on the continued slump the theatrical industry finds itself in, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad will be very lucky if it manages to debut to even a third of the $133 million David Ayer’s 2016 effort managed to earn in its domestic opening weekend. However, the R-rated DCEU blockbuster is already breaking pandemic-era records, which should stand it in good stead for a promising first frame by the current standards.
Thursday previews brought in $4.1 million, comfortably eclipsing the $3.8 million benchmark set by Demon Slayer: Mugen Train. Admittedly, not a lot of R-rated titles have been given wide releases during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that number is still ever so slightly higher than the $4 million managed by Birds of Prey back in February 2020.
Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn spinoff was viewed as a huge disappointment after earning $33 million across its first three days in theaters, but should The Suicide Squad match or even exceed those numbers then it can’t be viewed as anything other than a huge win, which is an indicator of just how badly business has suffered.
Some projections pegged the irreverent adventure to go as high as $40 million, which is certainly feasible if not guaranteed, especially when HBO Max subscribers can see the movie from the comfort of their own homes. The Suicide Squad isn’t going to come anywhere close to the orbit of its predecessor’s $746 million tally, but we’re living in a completely different world to the one that greeted the titular team’s first outing with a commercial thumbs up and critical mauling.
Any good news for the theatrical industry as a whole needs to be celebrated, with The Suicide Squad now well on track to smash every standing record for an R-rated release.