Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad earned $20.5 million at Thursday night preview screenings, easily outpacing the $11.2 million that Guardians of the Galaxy earned in its previous record-breaking weekend two years ago.
The latest entry in DC's extended universe easily took the record for the best Thursday night haul ever in August, and is on pace to similarly dismantle the $94 million August opening weekend record, which also belongs to Guardians.
That $20 million opening is 61% better than Deadpool did on Thursday before it went on to open with $132 million. It's also more than 80% of what Captain America: Civil War earned in its Thursday night screenings before that film -- the highest-grossing live-action movie of the year -- went on to earn $179 million in that first frame. In its opening weekend, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earned $27.7 million en route to a $166 million haul.
Currently, Suicide Squad is expected to earn around $140 million this weekend, which would beat Deadpool and earn the film an elite spot among 2016's openings. The bigger question, with poor reviews plaguing the film as they did Batman v Superman, is whether Squad will have a similarly-significant second-week drop or whether Ayer's supervillain team-up flick can manage to keep its momentum up for another week or two.
It feels good to be bad…Assemble a team of the world's most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government's disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren't picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it's every man for himself?
Suicide Squad hits theaters today.