Box Office: ‘Suicide Squad’ Targets Record-Breaking $125 Million Debut

Fans could give the DC Comics cinematic universe a second chance.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” may have been given a cold shoulder from critics and received a tepid response from fans, but audiences are still interested in the comic book company’s movies. “Suicide Squad,” a spin-off centered around an elite team of super-villains,  is racing towards a smashing August debut, according to pre-release tracking. It should bring in anywhere from $100 million to $125 million, on the high end, when it hits theaters on Aug. 5. That should easily bypass “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” $94.3 million launch to become the biggest debut ever for an August release.

It’s still early, so those numbers could shift depending on whether or not reviewers like the film, but it likely has the brass at Warner Bros. breathing a sigh of relief. The studio had intended to launch its own in-house answer to Marvel with “Batman v Superman,” but pitting the Man of Steel against the Dark Knight didn’t set off the kind of fireworks it had hoped. The film grossed $872.7 million globally, but with a budget of $250 million and millions more spent on promotion and advertising, analysts were disappointed that it didn’t hit the $1 billion mark.

Suicide Squad” had its own struggles. The film endured extensive re-shoots, which one insider said was to fill out the backstories of several characters and to fix some tonal issues. Warner Bros. hasn’t released a budget, but that kind of additional photography is usually pricey.

“Suicide Squad” features a number of Batman adversaries, including the Joker (Jared Leto), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Will Smith (Deadshot) who are recruited by a shadowy government agency to pull off a black ops mission. Ben Affleck’s Batman will also show up, providing another link to the DC Comics universe. David Ayer  (“End of Watch”) directed and wrote the film.

It’s been a bruising summer at the box office, with a number of costly flops such as “Warcraft” and “The BFG” dampening spirits. In that atmosphere, “Suicide Squad’s” tracking could give the industry hope that things might be on the upswing. There’s more reason for optimism. Universal’s “Jason Bourne,” which brings back Matt Damon as the amnesiac spy, is also resonating with audiences. The thriller is on pace for a launch in the $50 million range.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Kung Fu Panda 3

    Universal's Beijing Resort to Partner With Alibaba on Digitization

    Amid fierce controversy about the leverage China has over U.S. entertainment firms with significant mainland operations, Universal Beijing Resort and Alibaba announced a strategic partnership Thursday to digitize the forthcoming theme park in China’s capital. Facial recognition and the use of big data will be the norm at the new resort, which will use an [...]

  • They Shall Not Grow Old restoration

    Peter Jackson Documentary 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Nabs Limited China Release

    The Peter Jackson produced and directed World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” will hit Chinese theaters on November 11. Though it will roll out nationwide, it will do so via the China’s National Arthouse Alliance, which has limited screens. The 2018 documentary puts together interviews with WWI veterans and more than 100-year-old [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    'Zombieland: Double Tap' Hopes to Recapture Raunchy Zombie Magic, 10 Years Later

    Audiences may have a few questions about the sequel to 2009’s hit “Zombieland,” which opens Friday. Why did it take 10 years to make a second one, after the first grossed $102.4 million worldwide on a $23 million budget, making it the third-biggest zombie movie of all time (second-biggest if you don’t count “Hotel Transylvania,” [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Theatres Accused of Firing VP Who Complained of Gender Pay Gap

    A former vice president at AMC Theatres filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, accusing the company of firing her after she complained that she was paid far less than her male peers. Tonya Mangels, who was vice president of product marketing, said that in March 2018 her supervisor inadvertently sent her a spreadsheet that included [...]

  • Sir Elton John poses for photographers

    Elton John Calls 'Lion King' Remake a 'Huge Disappointment'

    Elton John isn’t feeling the love for Disney’s latest live-action remake. In an interview with GQ U.K., the legendary musician criticized Disney’s remake of “The Lion King,” citing the film’s music as a “huge disappointment.” “The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music [...]

  • Fiddlin'

    Film Review: 'Fiddlin''

    Not many forms of music have “old-” actually built into their name as a prefix. So it’s a given that the practitioners of the 200-year-old genre known as “old-time music” will wear their antiquity proudly in “Fiddlin’,” a documentary set in and around the 80th annual Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. What may not [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Jonah Hill Passes on Role in 'The Batman'

    After being offered a role in “The Batman,” Jonah Hill has moved on from the project. Why exactly Hill is passing is currently unknown, and insiders tell Variety that when the news was initially reported, it was very early in the negotiations and that a deal was far from closing. The news comes after Zoe [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content