“Suicide Squad” Fares Well On HBO Max

Originally published on Dark Horizons by Garth Franklin

With James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad” earning just $26.5 million in its opening three days of release at the North American box-office, arguments and plenty of hand-wringing movie site editorials are being penned debating the question of who is to blame.

The $185 million budget film scored well with critics and with online audience polls, but intriguingly it earned a B+ CinemaScore from audiences polled at cinemas. That’s the same score David Ayer’s 2016 “Suicide Squad” film earned – a movie with far worse critical reviews, but far bigger box-office. It also suggests general audiences aren’t warming as much to Gunn’s film.

Many are claiming the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is undermining consumer confidence – suggesting this may not be the first underwhelming opening of the next few weeks. Should we brace for another round of blockbuster delays?

Exhibitors are naturally pointing to Warners’ day-and-date strategy with HBO Max, giving people the option of safely staying at home to watch the film. There may be a little truth there as HBO Max chief Andy Forssell tells THR that the film has: “emerged as the second most-viewed film over an opening weekend on HBO Max since we began day-and-date releases with theaters.”

The number one spot in the most-viewed release in its opening weekend was likely “Mortal Kombat” back in late April which opened to $23 million. However, HBO Max won’t share actual numbers so it’s not clear.

Intriguingly Disney showed that maybe day-and-date releases aren’t always to blame this weekend as its “Jungle Cruise” film took in $15.7 million in its second weekend – a low drop of 55% from its above expectations opening last week.

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