Suicide Squad opens big despite reviews

The Joker after reading the Rotten Tomatoes website about Suicide Squad.

“We’re No 1!” The Joker chanted.

Despite bad reviews and reports about production and editing problems, Suicide Squad opened big in the U.S. and Canada.

The Warner Bros./DC Entertainment movie generated estimate box office in the region of $135.1 million for the Aug. 5-7 weekend, according to the BOX OFFICE MOJO website.

The results were, no doubt, welcome news for “Mr. Warner” (this blog’s nickname for Warners). The studio has a lot riding on movies based on characters originally published by DC Comics.

The movie, about a group of villains forced to work for the government, initially had positive buzz when its first trailer was released early this year.

Over the past week, that changed as critics panned the movie and The Hollywood Reporter published a story describing reshoots and a last-minute attempt to light the film’s tone in the editing room. The IndieWire website published a follow-up story saying Suicide Squad was “the product of everything that’s wrong with studio filmmaking.”

The main question now is whether Suicide Squad can hold on to its audience and attract some repeat viewings. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened big in March ($166 million its opening weekend), but it fell off quickly.

Jason Bourne was the No. 2 movie of the weekend, with estimated box office of $22.7 million in the U.S. and Canada, a 62 percent drop from its opening weekend.. That movie has a global box office of $195.3 million, with $103.4 million of that coming from the U.S. and Canada.

 

‘Mr. Warner’ having a bad week (so far) with Suicide Squad

The Joker after reading the Rotten Tomatoes website about Suicide Squad.

The Joker after reading the Rotten Tomatoes website about Suicide Squad.

Mr. Warner (our nickname for Warner Bros.) has been having a bad week as Suicide Squad, the studio’s latest big DC Comics-based movie, is about to debut.

First, there were the reviews. Good news: Suicide Squad scored better than the 27 percent “fresh” rating of March’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Bad news: Not much better. As of Wednesday afternoon, Suicide Squad has a 32 percent “fresh” rating on the same website.

Now bad reviews by themselves don’t necessary translate to financial ruin. Batman v Superman had a global box office of almost $873 million. However, it didn’t match a number of Marvel Studios movies (including two Avengers films) that scored global ticket sales exceeding $1 billion. Also, Batman v Superman had a big opening but fell off quickly.

Until this week, there had been positive buzz about Suicide Squad, about a group of Batman villains forced to work for the government. Beyond the bad reviews, a story today by Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter suggests a lot of behind-the-scenes intrigue affected the film, including millions of dollars of reshoots. A sample:

Yet if the villain team-up ultimately works — and it has drawn some harsh early reviews — it will be in spite of the kind of behind-the-scenes drama that is becoming typical for giant franchise movies that now are the main focus of the studio business: a production schedule engineered to meet an ambitious release date; a director, David Ayer (Fury), untested in making tentpole movies; and studio executives, brimming with anxiety, who are ready to intercede forcefully as they attempt to protect a branded asset.

That’s probably not the kind of reading Mr. Warner was looking forward to just ahead of the film’s debut.

Now, as the Masters story notes, there are estimates that Suicide Squad could have an opening weekend of $140 million. Still, Mr. Warner has a lot riding on DC Comics-based films, as it tries to match rival Marvel Studios and its owner, Walt Disney Co. So Suicide Squad is going to get even more scrutiny than the average big-budget movie.

We’ll see how it turns out for Mr. Warner in short order. If that big Suicide Squad opening materializes — and Suicide Squad doesn’t fade as quickly as Batman v Superman did — the bad buzz will fade quickly.

Craig’s Purity miniseries lands at Showtime

Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz in December 2014. event.

Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz in December 2014 event.

Daniel Craig’s Purity miniseries will be televised by the Showtime cable network, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER said.

Besides starring the 20-episode series, the current screen James Bond will also be an executive producer, according to the entertainment news website. Production is scheduled to begin in 2017 and the 20 episodes will be televised over two years, the website said.

In February, Variety reported that producer Scott Rudin was shopping around the project to various bidders, including Showtime and Netflix.

Here’s an excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter story:

The series…centers on a young woman named Purity (who is known by the name of Pip) who, in search of answers about herself and her family, winds up interning at South America at the Sunlight Project, a group which deals with all the secrets of the world. It’s described as a story about youthful idealism, fidelity and murder. Craig is eyed to play Andreas, a German provocateur who crosses paths with Pip.

Todd Field will write, direct and exec produce Purity. Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Franzen and David Hare will also exec produce. Haren and Franzen will also serve as writers on the series, while Field will direct all 20 episodes.

Besides Purity, Craig is scheduled to do a stage production of Othello later this year and may appear in Logan Lucky, a heist movie directed by Steven Soderbergh.

There has been plenty of speculation whether Craig will return for a fifth turn as 007. For the moment, there’s no way to determine when Bond 25 may come out. Studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which controls half of the 007 franchise, doesn’t have the resources to release a movie on its own. MGM’s 007 contract with Sony Pictures expired after SPECTRE. MGM has yet to reach an accord with Sony or any other studio.

 

BvS unlikely to join $1B club, may not match SPECTRE

Batman v Superman poster

Batman v Superman poster

We’ve mostly written about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice because how it illustrates the expectations game among major movies.

Anyway, the movie is in its fourth weekend of release and it’s now expected Batman v Superman won’t the $1 billion club for worldwide box office — something that had been widely predicted before its release last month. BvS may not match the global box office of SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film.

In the U.S. and Canada, BvS is projected to finish this weekend with about $9 million in ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie is coming in at No. 4 for the weekend.

The movie’s cumulative totals are $311.3 million for U.S.-Canada and $827.3 million worldwide.

Most studios would would kill for those kinds of worldwide numbers. But Warner Bros. had higher hopes for the first joint appearance in movies of DC Comics’ two most famous characters. To provide a little 007 context, Batman v Superman may not match match SPECTRE’s $880.6 million worldwide box office.

The editor of the BoxOfficeGuru.com website said the movie is just about done.

On Twitter, two writers for The Hollywood Reporter did a quick analysis.

SPECTRE No. 1 in U.S.-Canada for 2d weekend

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE was the No. 1 movie in the U.S. and Canada for the second weekend in a row with estimated box office of $35.4 million, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO.

The 24th James Bond film’s second weekend declined by about half compared with its debut weekend, which is a typical drop.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER said SPECTRE has generated $130 million so far in the region, down from about $161 million during the comparable period for its 007 predecessor, 2012’s Skyfall. Last weekend, SPECTRE debuted at $70.4 million, compared with $88.4 million for Skyfall’s first weekend.

The new 007 film “is making up ground overseas, where it is pacing head of Skyfall in many markets,” THR’s Pamela McClintock wrote, concerning SPECTRE’s box office outside the U.S. and Canada.

SPECTRE “was No. 1 globally for the second straight week and has rung up more than half a billion dollars in roughly two weeks,” THE WRAP‘s Todd Cunningam wrote.

Skyfall’s global box office was $1.11 billion, the first Bond film to go past the $1 billion mark. Of that figure, $304.4 million came from the U.S. and Canada.

The No. 2 film this weekend was The Peanuts Movie at $24.2 million. Peanuts also debuted last weekend. In 2012, Skyfall was the only new movie in general release in its opening weekend.

UPDATE: The Wrap HAS PUBLISHED more information. The website said SPECTRE had an opening of $48 million in China and that the movie’s global box office is almost $550 million.

SPECTRE has $73 million opening in U.S.-Canada

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE generated estimated box office of $73 million for the Nov. 6-8 weekend in the U.S. and Canada, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO

The 24th James Bond film was the No. 1 film for the weekend, which also includes Thursday night ticket sales. SPECTRE, despite higher ticket prices, was 17 percent lower than the $88.4 million opening of 2012’s Skyfall.

Three years ago, Skyfall was the only new movie in general release in the U.S. and Canada. Other new films out that weekend, such as Lincoln, were available only in limited release in a few cities. Skyfall also was the 50th anniversary 007 movie, and it enjoyed a big promotion from the 2012 Olympics, where the Opening Ceremonies included an elaborate James Bond skit, featuring Daniel Craig and Queen Elizabeth.

This time around, SPECTRE had more competition in the form of The Peanuts Movie, an animated film based on the comic strip, which had an estimated $45 million weekend.

Final figures for the weekend will be released on Monday.

Meanwhile, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reported that SPECTRE had a global weekend of “nearly $200 million” and its global box office so far is “north of $300 million.” The movie debuted late last month in the U.K.

Skyfall was the first Bond film to crack the billion-dollar-mark, with worldwide box office of $1.11 billion.

Craig on 007’s misogyny, his own training, other topics

Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz at Dec. 4 media event.

Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz at Dec. 4 media event.

Daniel Craig did AN INTERVIEW with a website called The Red Bulletin. It’s being cited by other media outlets (including The Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair) because of his comments on James Bond’s misogyny, but it actually covers a range of other subjects also.

A quick look:

On the character of 007: “But let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist…(W)e’ve surrounded him with very strong women who have no problem putting him in his place.”

On Bond’s appeal: “I guess that one of the biggest reasons why the character has endured for so long is because he represents the eternal struggle between good and evil.”

Workout and diet related to filming:: “Then, three months before we began filming, I started going to the gym five or six days a week. While we’re filming, I stick to a diet—it’s all about preventative measures, so that I don’t get ill or injured.” Referring to a knee injury he suffered during SPECTRE filming, he added, “But as you’ve seen, of course, something unpredictable can happen anyway. There’s no way around that.”

Craig also said, “This time, I deliberately took time off to get involved in the script.” There were no additional details in the interview about that. To read the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

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