“The Suicide Squad,” the R-rated comic book adaptation directed by James Gunn, underwhelmed in its box office debut, collecting $26.5 million from 4,002 North American theaters.
Those ticket sales were easily enough to lead domestic box office charts despite falling short of expectations heading into the weekend. There were several factors contributing to its less-than-stellar start, including but not limited to growing concern over the Delta variant of COVID-19, the Warner Bros. film’s hybrid release on HBO Max at no extra charge to subscribers, and its R-rating. An opening weekend below $30 million isn’t surprising, given the ongoing pandemic, but it’s disappointing because “The Suicide Squad” cost $185 million to produce and many millions more to promote globally.
Industry analysts thought the movie would have a stronger launch because “The Suicide Squad” has excellent reviews, and its target audience of younger males have been among the most loyal moviegoers during the pandemic. Instead, “The Suicide Squad” didn’t collect much more than “Wonder Woman 1984,” which generated $16.7 million last December at a time when only 35% of movie theaters had reopened and the idea of a widely available vaccine felt like a far off dream. Today, more than 80% of U.S. and Canadian cinemas have reopened.
“Currently, this is an unforgiving market,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Under normal conditions, a strong marketing campaign can overcome a few drawbacks and generate a good weekend. Under current conditions, that isn’t happening.”
More to come…
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