Shadow & Act> | Sergio Mims

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Well we’re swiftly approaching the end of the summer film season and getting ready for fall film releases, starting next month, but the consensus is in already: This has been one rotten summer season for movies.

Sure there were some good films here and there, but the feeling is that most of the films that came out this summer were mainly disappointments that did not live up to their promised potential, or they were just straight up stinkers. There were some hit movies, but not as many as summers past.

So how did Warner’s/DC’s “Suicide Squad” do? Especially since most audiences believe that DC films are just not as good as Marvel’s films…

Before the film’s release, rumors flew fast and thick that “Squad” was in real trouble, notably that massive reshoots (some that were done by “Batman vs. Superman’s” director Zack Snyder) used up $22 million of the film’s reported $175 million budget. And even worse, it turned out that Warner was unhappy with writer and director David Ayer’s version of the film, and actually had an outside post-production company edit the studio’s version of what they wanted it to be. The released movie is supposedly a combination of both Ayer’s and the studio’s versions, which explains audience and critic criticisms that the film is confusing and choppy.

And then advance reviews prior to the film’s release weren’t particularly good. In fact they were mostly tragic. Critics said that the film was a horrible mess, and one of the worst of the summer, if not of the year. This so enraged the hardcore fanboys so much that they actually started a online campaign to get rid of film review aggregate website Rotten Tomatos, since the site had a critics rating average of a measly 32%. Of course none of the fanboys had actually seen the film, but that didn’t matter. They claimed that the critics had been bought out by Marvel.

But all the bad reviews didn’t make a dent, since “Squad” opened this weekend with $135 million ($267 million worldwide so far), making it the highest August opening for a film, as well as the third-best domestic opening this year to date, the second best opening of the summer (after “Captain America: Civil War” with $179.1M), and the best opening of Will Smith’s career (before this, “I Am Legend” was the highest opening for any movie with Will Smith in a starring role, with $77.2 in 2007). Those are some impressive historical stats for “Squad.”

But consider that a healthy amount of the film’s box office this weekend likely came from fanboys/girls, which might mean that a huge second week drop-off of 70% or more, if word-of-mouth isn’t strong enough to draw the non-fanboy/girl remaining filmmgoers.

And with a huge budget of $175 million, the film needs to make at least around $750 million to be considered profitable. Keep in mind that though Warner’s/DC’s “Baman vs Superman” made $873 million worldwide, placing it as the 4th highest grossing film this year, it just barely made money for the studio. So it’s a question of whether Warner will actually see a profit from “Squad.”

It was also announced this week that the film will not be opening in China, so that would certainly have an adverse effect on global profits. We’ll have to wait and see.

But “Suicide Squad” and tepid word-of-mouth did affect last week’s no. 1 film, “Jason Bourne,” which suffered a huge and not-good-at-all 61% box office drop-off this week, coming in a very distant second place with $22.7 million ($103 million domestic to date), and over $195 million worldwide so far.

The big puzzle is why “Star Trek Beyond” is still dropping like a rock, falling another 59% from last week, with $10 million this week, and nearly $128 million domestically. Though that sounds like a lot of money, that’s way below what the film was expected to make. Most analysts say it was a matter of bad timing; that the film had too much competition going after the same demographic. They say that the film should have been held back until November, where it would have stood out against more serious films.

The only other new film this weekend was the fantasy comedy “Nine Lives” starring Kevin Spacey, which opened poorly with $6.5 million. Not only was the film not screened to anyone anywhere in advance, which is always a sign of quality, the big question is why Barry Sonnenfeld, directed the film? After a successful career as an cinematographer on many film during the 80’s and 90’s, including the Coen Bothers early films such as “Raising Arizona” and “Miller’s Crossing,” he moved on to becom a director helming some the most successful comedies in recent years, such as the “Addams Family” films, “Get Shorty” and all three “Men in Black” films. He became so rich and successful that Sonnenfield announced that he was retiring from directing. But he came back out of retirement to make “Nine Lives”? That’s one mystery I would love to hear the answer to.

  1. Suicide Squad WB $135,105,000
  2. Jason Bourne Uni. $22,710,000 Total: $103,416,020
  3. Bad Moms STX $14,204,000 Total: $51,050,830
  4. The Secret Life of Pets Uni. $11,560,000 Total: $319,578,780
  5. Star Trek Beyond Par. $10,200,000 Total: $127,901,364
  6. Nine Lives EC $6,500,000
  7. Lights Out WB (NL) $6,005,000 Total: $54,714,252
  8. Nerve LGF $4,900,000 Total: $26,888,794
  9. Ghostbusters Sony $4,800,000 Total: $116,711,936
  10. Ice Age: Collision Course Fox $4,300,000 Total: $53,539,797
  11. Finding Dory BV $1,955,000 Total: $473,869,641
  12. Cafe Society LGF $1,700,000 Total: $6,789,811

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