"Suicide Squad" brought in $20.7 million at the U.S. box office this weekend, making it the top earner in theaters for the third straight week, while MGM/Paramount's $100 million "Ben-Hur" remake netted just $11.4 million in its first weekend of release.
The haul gives the Will Smith- and Margot Robbie-starring DC Comics vehicle $262.3 million in stateside gross, according to Variety, with Warner Bros Distribution Executive Vice President Jeff Goldstein telling the trade, "We're well on our way to $300 million domestically," and saying the film -- which was met with mixed reviews and saw a significant drop-off between its first two weeks -- is "in great shape." Deadline reports that the film has brought in 17% more than fellow August release "Guardians of the Galaxy" had brought in at the same point.
Seth Rogen's raunchy animated "Sausage Party" came in second place in its second week with a $15.3 million take, representing a 55% drop in ticket sales from its debut, but is expected to eventually hit $100 million in ticket sales.
Todd Phillips' "War Dogs" brought in $14.3 million in its first weekend of release, good for third place, while Disney's "Pete's Dragon" remake made $11.3 million.
But the big news was the failure of "Ben-Hur" to connect with audiences, after significant efforts by the studio to reach out to what was expected to be receptive faith-based communities around the country. The film was originally planned for a February release before being pushed back to late summer, when competition is expected to be thinner.