The Suicide Squad fell short at the box office with $25.6 million open

By Ashley Hume For Dailymail.Com

The Suicide Squad topped the weekend box office with a tally of $26.5 million from 4,002 theaters in North America, Deadline reported on Sunday.

However, the Warner Bros and DC Comics flick fell short of expectations as movie-goers shied away from theaters amid the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 

According to Variety, the James Gunn-directed follow-up to 2016's Suicide Squad was projected to bring in $30 million in its opening weekend.

First place: The Suicide Squad topped the weekend box office with a tally of $26.5 million from 4,002 theaters in North America

The Suicide Squad also underwhelmed at the international box office with a total of $35 million from 70 territories. The comic-book adaptation's gross box office haul currently stands at $72.2 million.   

In a spot of good news for the film, it set the pandemic-era record for an R-rated title, according to The Hollywood Reporter

However, the action-comedy had a budget of $185 million with additional millions spent on global marketing so its disappointing opening is a worrying sign for a box office that is struggling to recover during the ongoing pandemic.

Disappointing: However, the Warner Bros and DC Comics flick fell short of expectations as movie-goers shied away from theaters amid the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant

Falling short: The James Gunn-directed follow-up to 2016's Suicide Squad was projected to bring in $30 million in its opening weekend

Another factor that likely played into The Suicide Squad's lackluster numbers was its simultaneous release on HBO Max at no-charge to subscribers. Potential audiences may have chosen to watch the film from home as COVID-19 cases are on the rise.  

Last week's big-budget release The Jungle Cruise surpassed expectations with a $35 million opening. This weekend, the Disney fantasy-adventure starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt came in second with a total of $15.69 million, a better than forecast decline of 55%.   

By comparison, the 2016 installment in the DC Extended Universe franchise opened at $133.7 million, though it did not have to contend with a global pandemic. And unlike its predecessor, The Suicide Squad was met with rave reviews from critics.

On the bright side: In a spot of good news for the film, it set the pandemic-era record for an R-rated title

Ensemble: The Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Peter Capaldi

Plot: Gunn's reimagining of the original movie follows antiheroes Bloodsport (Elba), Peacemaker (Cena), King Shark (Stallone), Harley Quinn (Robbie) and Captain Boomerang (Courtney) among other supervillains as they set out to destroy a Nazi-era laboratory at the behest of intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Davis)

Led by Captain Rick Flag (Kinnamen), the group of convicts infiltrates the South American island of Corto Maltese, which has been overthrown by an anti-American regime, with the additional mission of capturing The Thinker (Capaldi)

The Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Peter Capaldi. However, big-name actors Will Smith and Jared Leto did not return to reprise their roles, which may have also hurt the film's box office take.

Gunn's reimagining of the original movie follows antiheroes Bloodsport (Elba), Peacemaker (Cena), King Shark (Stallone), Harley Quinn (Robbie) and Captain Boomerang (Courtney) among other supervillains as they set out to destroy a Nazi-era laboratory at the behest of intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Davis). 

Led by Captain Rick Flag (Kinnamen), the group of convicts infiltrates the South American island of Corto Maltese, which has been overthrown by an anti-American regime, with the additional mission of capturing The Thinker (Capaldi). 

Lackluster: The Suicide Squad also underwhelmed at the international box office with a total of $35 million from 70 territories

Weekend tally: The comic-book adaptation's gross box office haul currently stands at $72.2 million