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"Suicide Squad" Opens Big, But With A Catch

The movie's $135.1 million estimated domestic debut broke records, but a steep drop from Friday to Saturday does not bode well for the film's future.

Posted on August 7, 2016, at 1:09 p.m. ET

Suicide Squad, the latest film in the expanded DC Comics cinematic universe, opened this weekend with an estimated domestic debut of $135.1 million — blowing away some big box office records in the process.

Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures

The film enjoyed the best domestic debut for an August movie by a considerable margin.

Adam B. Vary / BuzzFeed News

It is also by far the best domestic opening weekend ever for Will Smith, who has struggled this decade to reclaim his status as a major box office movie star.

Adam B. Vary / BuzzFeed News

Suicide Squad is also easily a record debut for everyone else involved, including writer-director David Ayer, as well as co-stars Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, and Viola Davis.

And it is also among the top 10 domestic debuts for a superhero movie.

Adam B. Vary / BuzzFeed News

Suicide Squad opened to overwhelmingly negative reviews, provoking a backlash online among DC Comics fans outraged that film critics would be critical of the highly anticipated movie.

Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures

Insofar as major box office returns signify a film's popularity, Suicide Squad's record-setting debut suggests a vindication of sorts for those fans.

But looking at the daily grosses for the film indicates that the film's bad reviews, and the less-than-effusive word-of-mouth suggested by the "B+" rating from audience polling film CinemaScore, have already had an adverse impact on the movie's bottom line.

After opening with $65.3 million on Friday (which included $20.5 million in Thursday night previews), Suicide Squad dropped a steep 41% on Saturday, bringing in an estimated $38.8 million.

Adam B. Vary / BuzzFeed News

Movies with strong built-in fan bases tend to follow a pattern of a massive Friday debut followed by a significant drop for the rest of the weekend. But when compared with recent popular superhero movies, Suicide Squad's drop still stands out. (The film's 20% drop from Saturday to Sunday is based on estimated grosses for Sunday, and could vary significantly once final figures are released.)

The first full day of the Summer Olympics certainly also contributed to Suicide Squad's poor showing on Saturday, but given the depressed ratings for the Olympics so far, it was likely not a major factor.

By contrast, Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool — movies which were both widely well-received by audiences — enjoyed mild drops from Friday to Saturday. Deadpool's grosses even went slightly up on Sunday, in part because that day was also Valentine's Day.

Suicide Squad's lopsided debut and lack of direct competition through August pretty well guarantees it will be a hit — but whether it will become one of the year's major blockbusters remains to be seen.

Here are the estimated top 10 box office figures for Friday to Sunday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

1. Suicide Squad* — $135.1 million

2. Jason Bourne — $22.7 million

3. Bad Moms — $14.2 million

4. The Secret Life of Pets — $11.6 million

5. Star Trek Beyond — $10.2 million

6. Nine Lives* — $6.5 million

7. Lights Out — $6 million

8. Nerve — $4.9 million

9. Ghostbusters — $4.8 million

10. Ice Age: Collision Course — $4.3 million

*Opening weekend

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.