Kids across the nation aren’t the only ones feeling the back-to-school blues, as this weekend’s three new wide releases failed to drum up much interest at the box office, though year-to-date numbers are up around 5.2 percent from the same frame in 2015.
Warner Bros.’ DC Comics adaptation, Suicide Squad, won the box office crown for the third week in a row, pulling in a soft estimated $20.7 million atop a quiet crop of fresh titles. The action flick drops more than 50 percent across its third frame, a dip in-line with the trajectory of WB’s previous superhero title, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Suicide Squad‘s estimated domestic total now outpaces the gross of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, currently the top-grossing film ever to be released in August, which previously held the record for the month’s highest opening weekend ($94.3 million) before Squad blasted onto the scene with a $133.7 million debut. After 17 days in release, Guardians, en route to $333.2 million overall, had only amassed $222.7 million as compared to Squad’s $262.3 million earned over the same period.
Shedding more than 50 percent of its audience for a No. 2 finish, the R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party pulls in an estimated $15.3 million over its sophomore weekend, bringing its already-impressive domestic total to just over $65 million on a $19 million budget after just 10 days in North American theaters.
Warner Bros. scores a second top-three movie this weekend as the Miles Teller/Jonah Hill action-comedy War Dogs opens to an estimated $14.3 million on 3,258 screens for a modest per-theater average of $4,389. Though it holds off fellow newcomers like Kubo and the Two Strings and Ben-Hur, which take aim at very different audiences, Dogs earns an underwhelming B grade on CinemaScore, which means poor word of mouth could see the film take a nosedive next weekend.
Kubo, the latest stop-motion title from LAIKA, lands at No. 4 with approximately $12.6 million, the lowest opening gross of any of the animation house’s wide releases. Still, Kubo earned the best reviews of any LAIKA title in history on Friday, besting both the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores of films like The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline by a wide margin. The $60 million film also earned a rare A grade on CinemaScore, indicating the film could travel atop long legs toward a domestic finish in the $50-$60 million range.
Rounding out the top five is Paramount’s epic flop, Ben-Hur, an adaptation of Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (which was previously adapted as a 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston). The $100 million picture, which Paramount reportedly marketed heavily toward Christian audiences, opens to an estimated $11.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, while a further $10.7 million comes from foreign territories for a global premiere of $22 million. Ben-Hur‘s less-than-impressive weekend total places the film in the same boat as films like Pompeii and Exodus: Gods and Kings, both expensive historical epics that failed to catch on with North American audiences.
Expanding to 472 locations, the Jeff Bridges crime thriller Hell or High Water adds $2.7 million to its growing total, averaging a decent $5,614 per screen. On the specialty front, Natalie Portman’s feature directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, averages $18,000 per theater for the week’s highest location average, while Kingslave: Final Fantasy: XV earns a modest $114,000 from 24 theaters across its opening weekend.
Check out the Aug. 19-21 weekend box office estimates below.
1. Suicide Squad – $20.7 million
2. Sausage Party – $15.3 million
3. War Dogs – $14.3 million
4. Kubo and the Two Strings – $12.6 million
5. Ben-Hur – $11.4 million
6. Pete’s Dragon – $11.3 million
7. Bad Moms – $8.1 million
8. Jason Bourne – $8 million
9. The Secret Life of Pets – $5.8 million
10. Florence Foster Jenkins – $4.3 million