“The Suicide Squad” Serves Up So-So Opening


August 6-8, 2021

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)


The Suicide Squad $26.5 million
Jungle Cruise  $15.6 million
Old $4.1 million
Black Widow $4.0 million
Stillwater $2.8 million

Despite non-stop promotions, The Suicide Squad managed an opening just barely above the original's third weekend. While the gulf in quality is vast, being better didn't exactly translate into better box office. Even accounting for the pandemic, that's a very ho-hum opening for something playing on 4,000 screens. After a few months of theaters being open at or near 2019 levels, it really feels like this is the new normal. No more $100 million openings. No more $1 billion worldwide grosses. That might change by next summer, but I don't see any big 2021 films changing this.

Jungle Cruise slipped to second, with an expected fall of about 55 percent. That puts it in league with Skyscraper and Rampage, not exactly the highest highs of the Rock's cinematic output as of late. Even his next movie (Red Notice) is going straight to Netflix. Like a lot of other bankable stars, his best chance at continuing to dominate the box office is probably IP.

Old dropped to third, with it looking increasingly unlikely to pass even 2013's After Earth, which managed just $60 million despite starring Will Smith. Black Widow officially became 2021's biggest movie to date, though it won't get to $200 million. Stillwater held fairly well. That's not surprising considering its target audience is older, and more likely to check a movie out in its second or third weekend.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Mormon romantic comedy – apparently it's a thing – Once I Was Engaged did the best among weak competition. In its third weekend, it averaged $1,000 per screen.
  • The Green Knight fell to sixth place, and its artistic sensibilities didn't seem to play well with general audiences, who gave it a C+ CinemaScore.
  • And finally, one last time to pick on Joe Bell. It joined the ranks of some legendary disasters by dropping a whopping 90 percent in its third weekend. That's usually when theaters are no longer obligated to keep showing a film and can replace it with something that will hopefully make more money.

Next week:

The oft-delayed video game action comedy Free Guy and Aretha Franklin biopic Respect take on Don't Breathe 2. I'll bet on the one with Ryan Reynolds to have the best opening, but with only around $15 million.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.