Box Office: 'Sausage Party' scores with $33.6 million, 'Suicide Squad' plunges in second weekend
By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Sausage Party" scored at the box office this weekend, debuting to a meaty $33.6 million and providing a much-needed win for struggling Sony Pictures.
In a summer dominated by spinoffs and reboots, the story of a gang of grocery items grappling with the dangers of the kitchen was an antidote to sequelitis and a reminder of the power of original ideas.
"It was the something different that adult audiences have been craving," said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. "When comedy pushes the envelope, that's when it works best."
In the case of "Sausage Party," which liberally deploys sex jokes and four-letter words, it's a foul-mouthed affair that more than earns its R rating. The $19 million animated comedy was also backed by Annapurna Pictures, the maker of "The Master" and "American Hustle." Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, Jonah Hill and Bill Hader are among the vocal cast members. The studio released "Sausage Party" in 3,103 locations, and it now holds the record for the largest August opening ever for an animated film.
"When you have something so fresh, it just stands out to audiences," said Rory Bruer, Sony's distribution chief. "People were blown away by the movie. It's outrageous, off-the-wall fun."
It's good news for Sony, which has had a bruising period at the multiplexes. Flops such as "Ghostbusters," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "The 5th Wave" have outweighed hits such as "The Shallows" and "The Angry Birds Movie." It gives Sony momentum as it tries to put its recent bad run behind it and prepares for a fall and winter that will bring the debuts of "The Magnificent Seven" with Denzel Washington and "Passengers" with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.
And then there are victories that feel more like defeats. "Suicide Squad" topped domestic charts with $43.8 million, bringing its stateside total to a hefty $222.9 million. However, that represented a punishing 67 percent slide in the superhero movie's second week business, nearly equaling "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's" 69 percent sophomore plunge.
It's a signal that the deplorable reviews are catching up with the film and is unwelcome news for Warner Bros., which is trying to launch an inter-connected series of cinematic adventures based on DC Comics characters, but is still struggling to make movies that people like, as well as attend. Continued...