BY PAMELA MCCLINTOCK | HollywoodReporter.Com
Troy Warren for CNT #Entertainment
James Gunn’s antihero movie is headed for a less-than-expected domestic debut of $27 million. It is also available to watch on HBO Max.
Warner Bros. and DC’s The Suicide Squad opened to $12.2 million on Friday from 4,002 North American theaters amid challenges posed by the delta variant and a hybrid theatrical-home launch.
That puts the tentpole on course to debut to a less-than-expected $27 million at the domestic box office.
James Gunn directed the standalone sequel about DC’s team of antiheroes featuring a cast led by Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Peter Capaldi.
Critics adore the film, which sports an impressive 96 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were slightly less enthused, giving it a B+.
Gunn’s critically acclaimed movie opens amid consumer concern over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and delta variant, which has stalled the box office recovery. A home release on HBO Max also complicates matters.
The Suicide Squad hopes to reinvigorate the franchise following 2016’s Suicide Squad, which was directed by David Ayer and debuted to $175 million domestically.
Heading into the weekend, Warners was predicting a $30 million start.
A month ago, Disney and Marvel’s Black Widow opened to a pandemic-era best $80 million. F9 is runner-up at $70 million.
The Suicide Squad follows a group of convicts as they demolish a Nazi-era laboratory. Along the way, they encounter a giant alien named Starro.
Jungle Cruise, which debuted last weekend to $34 million domestically and $30 million Disney+ Premier Access, is looking at a second weekend gross of $14 million to $15 million after earning $4.5 million on Friday from 4,310 locations.
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