Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Suicide Squad’ Break August Record?

SUICIDE SQUAD

The DC Cinematic Universe is likely going to live or die this weekend, based on the performance of the hotly anticipated Suicide Squad. After the terminal underperformance of Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (which was expected to easily hit $1B+ and kickstart the DC universe) all eyes turned to Suicide Squad, the third installment in the DC Extended Universe. Many fans are thinking that the films eccentric premise and advertising will lead it to be a massive success, and there’s plenty of reasons why it could – or could not – end up breaking the August opening weekend record, currently held by Guardians of the Galaxy.

Speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s more than a few comparisons to be made between the two films. Firstly, they’re both ensemble teams of unlikely heroes banding together to stop some sort of villian, including marketing which heavily features humor and nostalgiac music. Additionally, both films are being released in the first weekend of August. That release date could really end up helping Suicide Squad, as outside of a few major key releases, the summer has been very slow in terms of PG-13 blockbusters, with only Captain America: Civil War able to crack the century mark in its opening weekend. Compare that to 2015, where there was Avengers: Age of UltronMinionsJurassic World, and Furious 7 (debatably a summer release but you get the idea). 2014’s slow summer ended up boosting Guardians of the Galaxy to much higher than expected results, and it’s clear that Warner Bros. is hoping for the same. Unfortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy had over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, while Suicide Squad currently sits at 29%. This will undoubtedly turn off many mainstream audiences.

So how high will the film open, realisitically? Well, Guardians of the Galaxy opened to around $101 million with inflation, which seems like a good comparison to Suicide Squad. While expectations have shot up to the $145M+ range, that’s most likely a case of Civil War syndrome, in which expectations for a hotly anticipated blockbuster shot up in the weeks before release, most of which was due to fan anticipation and not legitimate box office analysis. Another problem is the films tone and clearly not family friendly content; while Guardians was a fun, exciting sci-fi adventure for pretty much anyone, Suicide Squad has a darker tone, much more violence, the word “suicide” in the title (which will unquestionably turn off some parents) and the non-subtle sexualization of Harley Quinn, which hasn’t really been hidden in the marketing. All of these things are going to take away a key audience from Suicide Squad, as the potential R rated audience that Deadpool pulled in was pushed aside in favor of a PG-13. Whether or not that will work is yet to be seen.

Despite me meddling on for seven centuries about Suicide Squad, there are in fact other films opening this weekend. Kevin Spacey stars in the head scratching Nine Lives, a film about a father who gets turned into a cat via Christopher Walken, yet many have commented that the film has the production quality of a direct to DVD film from the early 2000’s, and doesn’t look like something that should be opening in over 2,000 theaters. There’s not exactly a ton of comparisons in terms of talking-cat-played-by-Kevin-Spacey market, but it looks like the film will open with around $5 million.

Bar for Success

Considering how much of the DC Universe is riding on this films success, Suicide Squad really needs to hit over $100 million this weekend to get a pass, while Nine Lives is fine at $10 million.

Weekend Predictions

  1. Suicide Squad – $112M
  2. Jason Bourne – $25M
  3. Bad Moms – $14M
  4. Star Trek Beyond – $11M
  5. The Secret Life of Pets – $9M

Nine Lives – $4M

Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Bourne’ Break Disappointing Summer Sequel Streak?

Film Title: Jason Bourne

The fifth installment in the long running Bourne Identity franchise hits theaters this weekend, but it doesn’t look like its set for a great start.

Jason Bourne can be related to last years Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in a number of different ways. For starters, they’re both the fifth installment in a long running spy action franchise that serves as a follow up to a reboot after the original trilogy concluded and given a release in the last weekend of July. Other than that, totally different. Rogue Nation may have been seen as a tad bit underwhelming in its opening weekend of $55 million, but it held very well and was able to total with over $190 million domestically and just a hair short of Ghost Protocol worldwide. Rogue Nation was also following up on the goodwill and unexpected success of said fourth installment, while Jason Bourne is following up on 2012’s The Bournce Legacy, a failed attempt at rebooting the franchise with Jeremy Renner as the lead. Oh yeah, the fifth Mission: Impossible film was also set to star Jeremy Renner. Coincidence?

The original expectations for Rogue Nation were at around $60-$70 million, a bit higher than what Jason Bourne is now tracking (around $50-$60 million or so). Considering the mixed reviews and a lack of online buzz, it wouldn’t be surprising if Jason Bourne wound up under $50 million for the weekend, and it could even end up closer to The Bourne Legacy than any of its other predecessors.

Also opening is low budget comedy Bad Moms, which is going after the very underserved summer female audience. This is also a good chance for STX Entertainment to have a solid win, after disappointing results from Hardcore Henry and Free State of Jones likely put their organization on the chopping block. With a budget of just $20 million and strong pre sale tickets, Bad Moms could wind up with over $25 million for the weekend, which would be a huge success. Reviews are also solid, with a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s actually higher than Jason Bourne, surprisingly enough.

Finally, Nerve is getting a wide release as well. The film also carries a $20 million price tag, and is mostly going after the teen audience. The film got a solid start on Wednesday, with a $3.7 million start on opening day. For a non holiday Wednesday start, that’s a good sign, and the film will likely wind up with more than $15 million by Sunday. It’s going to have a tough time holding on with Suicide Squad on the way next weekend, and the Wednesday start was likely done to squeeze a bit more cash out before the real competition sets in. With a solid A- Cinemascore, Nerve should be able to total with more than $40 million domestically.

Among holdovers, Star Trek Beyond will benefit from holding onto most of its IMAX and 3D screens with no major release in either of those formats, while Lights Out will prove whether or not it’ll play like a traditional horror film, or more like the surprise long term success of 2013’s The Conjuring. Regardless, its low budget and simplistic premise means its probably already a franchise in the making.

Bar for Success

The Bourne Legacy was able to get to $38 million in its opening despite way more competition and no Matt Damon. Considering how slow the summer box office has been, Jason Bourne needs at least $50 million to get a pass. Bad Moms is fine at $20 million, while Nerve is fine at $15 million over its five day start.

Weekend Predictions

  1. Jason Bourne – $43M
  2. Bad Moms – $31M
  3. Star Trek Beyond – $29M
  4. The Secret Life of Pets – $19M
  5. Nerve – $12M ($18M Five Day)