Suicide Squad led the North American box office for a second weekend, even as sales for the Warner Bros. superhero film slumped amid competition from three new releases.
The DC Comics-based movie, which features Will Smith and Margot Robbie, collected an estimated $43.8 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, ComScore Inc. said Sunday in an e-mailed statement. The R-rated animated feature Sausage Party from Sony Corp. placed second, while Walt Disney Co.’s Pete’s Dragon placed third and the Meryl Streep film Florence Foster Jenkins from Paramount Pictures landed in eighth place.
Suicide Squad, which introduced fans to a new crew of super-villains, fell 67 percent from last weekend’s $133.7 million after breaking the August record for an opening. A mauling by critics may limit the potential run for the film after its big start. The picture is a key plank in efforts by Time Warner Inc.’s film division to build its superhero movie business.
Suicide Squad was expected to generate $38.5 million this weekend, according to analysts at BoxOfficePro.com, a 71 percent drop from the opening. Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fell 69 percent in its second weekend earlier this year.
Sausage Party opened with sales of $33.6 million, beating the forecast of $30 million of BoxOfficePro.com. Critics praised the movie with 83 percent of the reviews positive at the website RottenTomatoes.com. The film features the voices of Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig as anthropomorphic food items seeking the truth about their existence.
Pete’s Dragon, a live-action re-imagining of the 1977 Disney film, garnered $21.5 million. The studio was expecting a first weekend tally of about $25 million, while Doug Stone of Box Office Analyst was projecting $29 million to $33 million and a total domestic box-office haul of as much as $120 million through its full run.
Disney spent about $65 million making Pete’s Dragon, according to Imdb.com. The studio secured subsidies from New Zealand, where the film was made, according to a government statement.
Pete’s Dragon scored well with critics, with 85 percent positive reviews. The story of the orphan Pete and his pet dragon Elliot features Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Florence Foster Jenkins, the third new release, features Streep in the role of a real-life entertainer famed for singing badly. Critics gave the release from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount studio 87 percent positive reviews. It generated $6.58 million of sales, in line with the $6.59 million projection at Hollywood Stock Exchange.