Suicide Squad's strong opening weekend belied the consensus thumbs-down reviewers gave it, fanning hope in some that if the movie wasn't a hit with foofy film critics it might still gather a wider, laid-back, fun-seeking audience.
The movie may have taken in $64.8 million on its opening Friday, but its second Friday saw just $13.35 million, a plunge of 79.4 percent, according to Box Office Mojo. That is the same kind of drop seen by Batman v Superman, which likewise set a record for a big premiere in a shoulder-season month and immediately cratered in its second week.
Batman v Superman raked in $81.5 million on March 25, then fell to $15 million on April 1, a drop of 81 percent. While both it and Suicide Squad set records for opening weekend takes in shoulder-season months, their lack of staying power suggests the DC cinematic universe preaches to a choir more than it spreads a message.
This doesn't mean on its face that Suicide Squad is a flop, but there are many ways of characterizing a film's success. It is assuredly a profitable film, as its budget was $175 million and the domestic take ($192 million) is already over that. (Suicide Squad has also made $191.5 million overseas.)
But Suicide Squad just lost the daily No. 1 title to Sausage Party, the animated dick-joke extravaganza starring Seth Rogen, which registered a $13.5 million premiere yesterday.
Forbes points out that Suicide Squad's descent is in the same range of other superhero disappointments, including Marvel dawgs like Fantastic Four and Hulk. To be fair, pretty much everything falls off big after its opening week, including the movie Suicide Squad beat for the August premiere record, Guardians of the Galaxy, which whose decline from opening Friday to second was 67.5 percent.
But Suicide Squad's performance, so similar to Batman v Superman's, does nothing to overcome the assumption that it has a limited appeal outside those already familiar with either its concept, or the DC Universe, or motivated to cast dollar votes for their side of the comic-book movie rivalry.