'Suicide Squad' smashes records with $135.1 million debut, 'Nine Lives' dies

Sun Aug 7, 2016 5:09pm EDT
 
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Suicide Squad" smashed records, scoring a colossal $135.1 million debut despite suffering some of the worst reviews of the year.

That sets a new high-water mark for an August launch, lapping "Guardians of the Galaxy's" $94.3 million bow. It also ranks as a new personal best for star Will Smith, trumping "I Am Legend's" $77.2 million debut in 2007.

The action spectacle is also resonating with foreign crowds. "Suicide Squad" earned $132 million overseas from 57 territories, bringing its global total to more than $267 million.

"It bested anything that we could have expected," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. distribution executive vice president. "The marketing campaign was brilliant and the performances by the cast, starting with Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto were just extraordinary. They're fun and wicked and fans enjoy it."

"Suicide Squad" has been one of the most hotly anticipated films of the summer. Buzz on the film has built steadily since Warner Bros. released a teaser trailer at last year's Comic-Con that highlighted Jared Leto's grill-sporting Joker and Margot Robbie looking demented in pigtails as Harley Quinn. However, the studio was caught off guard by the fusillade of withering reviews and their were concerns that the poor reception would dampen the opening numbers.

And boy were those reviews awful. The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern called the film "...an all-out attack on the whole idea of entertainment," New York's David Edelstein branded it "the worst of the worst," and MTV's Amy Nicholson dismissed the picture as "two hours of padding."

Audiences appeared to like the film better than critics, handing the film a B+ CinemaScore. Younger consumers appear to like the film better than older moviegoers, with audiences under the age of 18 giving it an A rating. The question is will "Suicide Squad" show some endurance?

"There's a major disconnect with between what the critics are saying and what audiences are seeing," said Goldstein.   Continued...

 
Cast members (L-R) Viola Davis, Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and Joel Kinnaman attend the world premiere of "Suicide Squad" in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.  REUTERS/Andrew Kelly