Box Office: Suicide Squad Again #1, Ben-Hur Bombs With Critics And Audiences

BOX-OFFICE-movie-theater3It was a weird weekend for theatergoers. Coming a weekend after arguably the best weekend of new releases for 2016 with Hell and High Water, Pete’s Dragon and Sausage Party, audiences were treated to a mismarketed Todd Phillips comedy, an unnecessary remake to a film that won 11 Oscars, and quite possibly the best animated release of 2016.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start with the still reigning champ at the box office, Suicide Squad. Three weekends at No. 1, the latest entry in DC Comics Extended Universe (DCEU), the anti-superhero movie made an estimated $20.7 million to bring its domestic total to $262.2 million. Worldwide it has surpassed $570 million.

Repeating in second place we had the raunchy animated comedy Sausage Party. Taking a 55% drop in weekend two, the talking hot dog movie finished with $15.3 million to bring its two-week total to $65.3 million.

Spots No. 3 – No. 5 were occupied by newcomers in wide release. Todd Phillips’ War Dogs is a comedy that was incorrectly promoted. Marketed to feel like The Hangover movies with guns and ammo, the comedy pulled in $14.3 million. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller aren’t yet draws as headlining stars (comedies or otherwise), so I guess it is a push in deciding if fourteen million is a decent opening or not.

Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings is a near-perfect film, so it is a little disappointing that more families didn’t gravitate to see it over the weekend. Laika, the same studio to give us The Boxtrolls and Coraline, specialize in stop-motion animation, but their movies are not bonafide hits. Costing around $60 million, on average the animated fare gross a little more than $100 million worldwide. But heed my advice and make a point to see it as Kubo bedazzles.

The last new release is Ben-Hur. Watching the advertisements you’d have no idea it was helmed by Timur Bekmambetov, the same director that gave us Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Wanted. It was also co-written by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, Red Tails). But the key in unlocking its lukewarm success may be the ones signing the checks. Mark Burnett (creator of TV’s Survivor) and his wife Roma Downey (star of TV’s Touched by an Angel) were two of the producers on the film, which cost in excess of $100 million. Yet, from what I’ve read, the production was more like a glossy Hallmark movie than a summer Hollywood release. Surprisingly, critics were more receptive to the film than Suicide Squad – though not by much (29% approval vs. 26% approval). Audiences could care less as the film only collected $11.35 million from 3,084 screens.

These three arrivals saw last week holdovers drop quite a few spots. Pete’s Dragon went from No. 3 to No. 6 ($11.3m) and Jason Bourne from No. 4 to No. 8 ($7.9m). Completing the top ten was Meryl Streep’s Florence Foster Jenkins. Playing on only 1,528 screens, the period comedy made $4.3 million and had the second-best audience hold of top 10 releases with only a 34.9% dip.

Outside of the top ten, the big story was Lionsgate’s Hell or High Water jumping up seven spots to finish just outside the top ten (No. 12) as it added 440 screens to bring its count to 472. The west Texas crime thriller made an impressive $2.65 million and had per-screen average better than first-place finisher Suicide Squad.

On tap for the weekend we have Don’t Breathe, Hands of Stone and Mechanic: Resurrection. My money is on Fede Alvarez’s horror flick Don’t Breathe to be the film that knocks Suicide Squad off its first place perch.

Complete Top 10 below.

01. Suicide Squad – $20.7 Million ($262.2m)
02. Sausage Party – $15.3 Million ($65.3m)
03. War Dogs – $14.3 Million
04. Kubo and the Two Strings – $12.6 Million
05. Ben-Hur (2016) – $11.35 Million
06. Pete’s Dragon – $11.3 Million ($42.8m)
07. Bad Moms – $8 Million ($85.8m)
08. Jason Bourne – $7.9 Million ($140.8m)
09. The Secret Life of Pets – $5.7 Million ($346.7m)
10. Florence Foster Jenkins – $4.3 Million ($14.4m)

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