Weekend Box Office: ‘Sausage Party’ Earns $33.6 Million As ‘Suicide Squad’ Tumbles

This weekend saw the openings of Sausage Party (my review), Pete’s Dragon, and Florence Foster Jenkins, as well as the second weekend of Suicide Squad (my review). Suicide Squad landed on top, adding $43.77 million domestic for an international total of $465.3 million, with Sausage Party a strong number two with $33.6 million domestic. While Suicide Squad‘s weekend represented a steep 67% tumble, Sausage Party‘s was well above both studio expectations (in the teens) and its budget ($19 million).

You could make a case that first weekend grosses reflect the success of marketing and hype, and that second weekend grosses are much more closely tied to word of mouth. In those terms, the famously polarizing Suicide Squad‘s 67% second weekend drop is… not great, certainly, but not exactly disastrous either. The short answer is that it didn’t hold as well as a Marvel movie and it didn’t fall as hard as some of the more notorious bombs.

That’s better than the 69% drops of Elektra and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the 69.7% drops of Jonah Hex and Hulk as well as the 70.7% drop of Hellboy II (against the opening weekend of The Dark Knight), and the 78% drop for Steel back in 1997. It’s just below the 68.2% drop for Fantastic Four. But it is below the last three Memorial Day-released X-Men movies (-66.9%, and -64.2%, and -65.3% in 2006, 2014, and 2016).

Comparatively for DC Comics, we’ve had Watchmen (-67.7% in weekend two), Jonah Hex (69.7%), Green Lantern (-66.1%), The Dark Knight Rises (-61.4%), Man of Steel (-67.9% using the full $128m opening weekend), Batman v Superman (-69.1%), and now Suicide Squad (-67.2%). [Forbes]

You could call that a win for the marketing department and a relative loss for the actual movie… basically, it’s ambiguous enough that you could spin it any way you want, but the larger point is that no studio is going to be too upset about $465 million after two weeks, no matter how front-loaded.

Elsewhere, studio estimates for Sausage Party ended up being way too low, probably because there just aren’t that many R-rated studio animations to compare it to. South Park: Bigger, Longer, And Uncut grossed $11 million in 1999 ($19 million in 2016 dollars), while, as Box Office Mojo points out, a better comparison may have been the sort of-animated R-rated comedy Ted 2.

Despite the low studio expectations, [Sausage Party’]s opening weekend shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as it is right in line with Ted 2‘s $33.5 million opening last year, which went on to gross just north of $81 million. The glaring difference between the two films, however, is the $68 million budget for Ted 2 while the reported budget for Sausage Party is only $19 million.

Wait wait wait — you can make Sausage Party for $19 million?

If I was a studio head I would’ve already greenlit six R-rated cartoons. Oddly enough, while Sausage Party was mostly liked by critics (82% on Rotten Tomatoes), it received a relatively scathing B Cinemascore from audiences (tied for the worst of anything from the past few months — with Popstar, Lights Out, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and Independence Day: Resurgence). My guess is, the poor grade probably has a lot to do with it being a foul-mouthed comedy, as Cinemascore poll-ees seem to love giving bad grades to anything that swears a lot. Even if I suspect they secretly liked it.

Elsewhere, despite pretty good reviews (86% recommended) and an A Cinemascore, Pete’s Dragon is doing about as poorly as the notoriously disastrous The BFG. The difference there, however, is that Pete cost less than half as much to make, $65 million to $140 million for The BFG.

Finally, Florence Foster Jenkins didn’t exactly light the world on fire, earning $6.58 million playing about half as many theaters as Sausage Party. But at 86% on RottenTomatoes and an A- Cinemascore from an audience that was 97% over 25, it’s well positioned for an awards season surge should the Oscar talk heat up, not to mention being strong counter-programming during the next few weeks of young-skewing dude movies.

This weekend brings us Ben-Hur, Kubo and the Two Strings, and War Dogs.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Suicide Squad $43,770,000 (-67.3) $10,287 $222,874,000
2 Sausage Party $33,600,000 $10,828 $33,600,000
3 Pete’s Dragon $21,501,000 $5,808 $21,501,000
4 Jason Bourne $13,620,000 (-39.2) $3,861 $126,782,000
5 Bad Moms $11,450,000 (-18.2)
$3,592 $71,461,000
6 The Secret Life of Pets $8,840,000 (-23.1) $2,989 $335,942,000
7 Star Trek Beyond $6,800,000 (-32.2) $2,639 $139,679,000
8 Florence Foster Jenkins $6,580,000 $4,306 $6,580,000
9 Nine Lives $3,500,000 (-44.0) $1,546 $13,550,000
10 Lights Out $3,220,000 (-46.4) $1,949 $61,134,000

[Chart via ScreenCrush]