Weekend Box Office: ‘Suicide Squad’ Threepeats While ‘Ben-Hur’ Grosses A Fraction Of Its Budget

Suicide Squad (my review) declined another 52.4% this weekend, but with an opening so massive that hardly mattered. It grossed another $20.7 million domestic this week, its third straight in the top spot, dominating a weak field that included War Dogs, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Ben-Hur.

Following Suicide Squad‘s best-ever August opening of $133 million, it has declined 67% and now 54%, but still has earned $262 million domestic and $310 million outside of the US for a global total of $572.68 million. That’s eighth among all 2016 releases. At this point in its run, it’s far outpacing previous August opening record holder Guardians of the Galaxy ($262 million in 17 days to Guardians’ $227 million). That said, it still has a way to go to reach Guardians‘ $333 million domestic and $773 worldwide. And of course, Suicide Squad, being so front-loaded, has an advantage in any “such-and-such-amount in so-many-days” comparison that may not necessarily hold once all the receipts are in.

Declining 55.3% and landing in second, with $15.3 million, was Sausage Party (my review). It has thus far grossed $65 million domestic on a $19 million budget. Keeping the budget low makes it looks wildly successful, though whether they had to screw some people over to get it there is still an open debate.

The only new film cracking the top three was War Dogs (my essay), which earned $14.3 million on a reported $40 million budget, an opening which was “on the lower end of expectations.” For director Todd Phillips, it was his second-lowest wide release opening ever when adjusted for inflation, which isn’t really that surprising when a director of light-hearted comedies tries to do something a little different (with mixed success). Audiences (56% male, 51% under 35) sort of hated it, awarding it a B Cinemascore, the kind of word of mouth that may have affected the front-loaded weekend that had a “shockingly high” Thursday-to-weekend percentage of 8.7%.

Kubo and the Two Strings, meanwhile, earned an A Cinemascore and rave reviews, but earned just $12.6 million for Laika animation’s worst-ever of its five features. Kubo’s marketing made it look artsy and foreign, and as good as they are at making movies, they’re going to need to get better at selling movies. Kubo cost $60 million to make.

Bringing up the rear, however, was Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov’s Ben-Hur remake, which cost $100 million to make and only grossed $11.3 million. As I wrote in my review, it was badly cast, badly designed, and badly shot, and served to an audience that’s already proved fairly unenthusiastic for biblical epics (see also: Exodus: Gods and Kings), so its A- Cinemascore feels like a miracle. It was marketed heavily to church groups, despite being a worse version of the even more overtly Christian Risen, which had an $11.8 million opening back in February. The major difference being, Risen cost $20 million to make instead of $100. That was probably the way to go with this one, short of, you know, not making it in the first place and or making it an actually good movie.

Here’s another interesting note about this year’s crop of films:

A Kevin Hart vehicle, three with female protagonists, and a horror movie. Imagine if the movies themselves had been better.

Next week brings us the horror movie Don’t Breathe, Hands of Stone, starring Usher as Sugar Ray Leonard, and Mechanic: Resurrection, starring Jason Statham as the world’s most unnecessarily xxxtreme assassin.

“Oh, allo. Moy name is Jason Stafam, an today’s da day you doy. Ain dat roight, Tommy.”

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Suicide Squad $20,710,000 (-52.4) $5,278 $262,283,000
2 Sausage Party $15,325,000 (-55.3) $4,939 $65,326,000
3 War Dogs $14,300,000 $4,389 $14,300,000
4 Kubo and the Two Strings $12,610,000 $3,868 $12,610,000
5 Ben-Hur $11,350,000 
$3,680 $11,350,000
6 Pete’s Dragon $11,331,000 (-47.3) $3,061 $42,892,000
7 Bad Moms $8,068,000 (-29.0) $2,870 $85,800,000
8 Jason Bourne $7,980,000 (-42.4) $2,764 $140,883,000
9 The Secret Life of Pets $5,770,000 (-36.3) $2,400 $346,722,000
10 Florence Foster Jenkins $4,300,000 (-34.9) $2,814 $14,405,000

[chart via ScreenCrush]