Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad is making a killing at the Friday box office, where it looks to earn at least $60 million for the day on its way to an August-best domestic debut of $140 million or more, according to early returns, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Friday’s haul will include a huge $20.5 million in Thursday-night previews. Imax locations took in a hearty $2.4 million, or 12 percent.
The David Ayer-helmed supervillain film is destined to boast one of the best showings of the year to date and the top August domestic opening of all time, ahead of Marvel and Disney’s likewise offbeat superhero film, Guardians of the Galaxy, which debuted to a surprise $94.3 million in 2014 after earning $11.2 million Thursday night. (Guardians held the previous Thursday record.)
The big question heading into the weekend was whether the latest film in Warner Bros.’ growing DC Extended Universe can beat another irreverent superhero offering: Fox and Marvel’s Deadpool, which collected $12.7 million in Thursday previews this past February on its way to a stunning $134.2 million domestic launch.
Suicide Squad — boasting a friendlier PG-13 rating — is also off to an impressive start overseas, earning $20.8 million from 40 markets on Thursday for a two-day foreign total of $29.6 million. The movie is outpacing Deadpool and Guardians in many markets — as well as scoring the biggest opening day of all time for any film in Russia with $3.9 million. Other noteworthy Thursday results included Australia ($2.4 million) and Brazil ($3 million).
Suicide Squad has been skewered by critics. But so was fellow DCEU title Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and that movie debuted to $166.1 million domestically in late March after collecting $27.7 million Thursday night, although it fell steeply in subsequent weeks.
In terms of other superhero films this year, Captain America: Civil War pulled in $25 million on Thursday night, while X-Men: Apocalypse earned $8.2 million in previews on its way to a subdued $65.8 million domestic debut.
Suicide Squad follows a group of dangerous comic book villains — played by Will Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo) and Cara Delevingne (Enchantress) — who are recruited to fight off a deadly threat. Jared Leto stars as The Joker while Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis round out the cast.
Also opening this weekend nationwide is EuropaCorp and director Barry Sonnenfeld’s Nine Lives, a family-friendly film starring Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey as a neglectful dad turned into a cat. Jennifer Garner co-stars in the movie, which also has been ravaged by critics.
According to first returns, Nine Lives isn’t looking like it has sharp claws, and may only open in the $5 million-$6 million range.