Some are estimating that 2016 will go down as the worst grossing movie in 100 years when it comes to movie ticket sales and this weekend was certainly lackluster enough to reinforce that.
Studios might want to take note, though. Last year, a movie that is generally considered a flop, Warner Brothers’ ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ did MUCH better than expected because it was released toward the end of the summer movie season and had very little competition, outside of Paramount’s juggernaut ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’. ‘U.N.C.L.E.’ still managed to stay in the Top Five (and Ten) for several weeks, although in the end, it didn’t really do as well as the parent company hoped.
The same holds true this weekend as ‘Suicide Squad’ holds on to the top spot in the Top Five against weak competition. WB’s third installment of their DC Comics movie series fended off newcomers taking in an additional $20.2 million. That’s not astronomical, by any means, but it was good enough to come out on top for a third straight week, which is very good for a movie that was lambasted by critics and only met with a tepid response from average moviegoers. (YES, I know, some people love it.)
Many are now looking at WB’s DC slate in a similar fashion to franchises like ‘Twilight’, ‘The Hunger Games’ and even ‘Harry Potter’, which all saw dwindling returns with later installments. The movies have a passionate fanbase, but all of the diehards turn out on opening weekend. What WB needs to worry about is that these movies are not appealing outside of that. More casual moviegoers are paying attention to the negative reviews and word-of-mouth and steering clear of these in following weeks.
But, I mean don’t cry about it. The movie has already crossed the $500M line globally on a budget of $175M. Buuuuut, WB needs to pay attention to the fact that general audiences are rejecting what they’re serving. (And hate to bring this up, these are the same audiences that embrace and love Marvel’s film output.)
This is this week’s Top Five:
- Suicide Squad (Warner Brothers) – $20.7M
- Sausage Party (Sony) – $15.3M
- War Dogs (Warner Brothers) – $14.3M
- Kubo and the Two Strings (Focus) – $12.6M
- Ben-Hur (Paramount) – $11.3M
As for the rest of the list, ‘War Dogs’ performed much better than expected and nearly came in at #2, but last week’s runner-up, ‘Sausage Party’ (which also opened much better than expected) has gotten great word-of-mouth and was able to retain its position this weekend.
‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ has also resonated with viewers but many think that Focus needs to reposition their excellently reviewed Laika animated movies for the summer season when kids aren’t in school.
On the flip side, ‘Ben-Hur’ looks to be one of the biggest flops of the year. This follows the failures of similar biblical big budget epics like ‘Noah’ and ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’. Faith-based audiences turn out in droves and made movies like ‘The War Room’ ($67.8M) and ‘Heaven Is For Real’ ($91.4M) major smashes. But those movies are contemporary and produced on tiny budgets. It may be that the Christian moviegoers just aren’t interested in literal adaptation of Bible stories, but rather modern movies that convey a Christian frame of mind. Perhaps the studios need to keep that in mind, rather than dumping millions into period adaptations that appeal to neither the Christian audience nor mainstream moviegoers.
There is literally JACK. SH** opening next weekend. (Please see paragraph #2 above.) So, congrats ‘Suicide Squad’ on a fourth consecutive week at #1!