The Suicide Squad 2021 took the gold medal this weekend with an opening of $26.6M, coming in at the lower range of expectations. Most industry watchers had projected it to open slightly higher than last week’s box office winner Jungle Cruise, which drew $34M. Once again, critics (at 92%) and audiences (at 86%) on Rotten Tomatoes loved the picture. The silver medal goes to Jungle Cruise with $15.7M, a drop of only 55% from last weekend. The bronze goes to Old, which came up with $4.1M in ticket sales.
It is interesting to note that while no one is satisfied with the grosses over the last two weekends, the Tokyo Olympics are not being used as an excuse for low theatre attendance. Previous Olympics were feared by both Distribution and Exhibition for having a noticeable negative effect on movie-going. Studios would steer major titles away from Olympic weeks and that has not happened this year since both Disney and Warner Bros. chose to release two very important titles over the past two weeks. TV ratings for this year’s Tokyo broadcasts were at 50% of the levels of the 2016 Rio Olympics, and it appears that the decision this year to release Jungle Cruise and The Suicide Squad has proven to be correct.
Next week, perhaps the most anticipated non sequel of the summer arrives with the Ryan Reynolds-led Fall Guy. In an industry that relies on proven tentpoles, this year has not produced any examples of new concept pictures that will surely be made into sequels for 2022 and beyond. Disney/Fox is hoping that Fall Guy can open strong and somehow go on to produce $100M in North American box office. If it does, that would make it a strong contender to warrant a sequel after the pandemic has subsided. Fall Guy will not be released day & date on streaming, nor will next weekend’s other two opening titles, Don’t Breathe 2 and Respect. Exhibition has an excellent chance to prove itself capable of creating a hit all by itself, as it has done repeatedly over 100 years.