Suicide Squad defies critics to smash North American box office record
All-star supervillain escapade Suicide Squad has shrugged off dire reviews to earn an estimated $135m (£103m) in North America in its first weekend.
That is the biggest ever August box office opening, beating Guardians of the Galaxy's $94m (£56m) record.
Cinemagoers ignored critics who dismissed it as "boring and unfunny" and "the worst of the worst".
In the film, Will Smith and Margot Robbie team up with a gang of villains from the DC comic stable.
Jared Leto, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara and Viola Davis play other anti-heroes.
'Elephant in room'
The box office takings "bested anything that we could have expected", Warner Bros distribution executive vice president Jeff Goldstein said.
"The elephant in the room is that the reviews were harsh. Clearly there's disconnect between audiences and critics."
The film took a further $132m (£101m) outside North America between Friday and Sunday, according to the studio estimates.
Fans also showed more enthusiasm than critics by giving it a B+ rating, according to audience trackers CinemaScore. Viewers under 18 gave it an A rating.
"You can't put reviews in the bank. You can put money in the bank," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, told the Associated Press.
"The long-term success of any movie is predicated on positive sentiment from the fans. For any movie, that's the most important aspect."
However after doing strong business on Thursday and Friday, its takings dropped sharply on Saturday, leading to suggestions that its earnings may decline steeply in the coming weeks.
|NORTH AMERICAN BOX OFFICE TOP FIVE|
|1. Suicide Squad - $135.1m (£103.5m)|
|2. Jason Bourne - $22.7m (£17.4m)|
|3. Bad Moms - $14.2m (£10.9m)|
|4. The Secret Life of Pets - $11.6m (£8.9m)|
|5. Star Trek Beyond - $10.2m (£7.8m)|
Matt Damon's Jason Bourne dropped to a distant second in the weekend box office rankings with $22.7m (£17.4m).
The top five also featured raunchy comedy Bad Moms, fluffy family animation The Secret Life of Pets and Star Trek Beyond, the latest frontier in the series reboot.
Kevin Spacey's comedy Nine Lives, about a ruthless executive who gets turned into a cat, struggled to spring to life at the box office, opening in sixth place with $6.5m (£5m).