Movie Studios Continue To Ramp Up National TV Spending, 'Suicide Squad' Underwhelms In Box Office

Despite threats of an oncoming pullback in theatrical movie business due to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, movie studios have continued to ramp up national TV spending this summer on a monthly basis.

From July 7 through August 7, movie studios spent $89 million on national TV advertising, according to This was up from the previous month-long period, when the total was $75.0 million.

From May 5 through June 5, spending came in at $53.6 million.

The big movie this summer in terms of U.S. box-office revenue has been Walt Disney’s “Black Widow” -- $174.4 million after five weeks of its theatrical release, according to Comscore “Widow” had the biggest -- albeit controversial -- $80 million opening weekend this summer.

In second place so far is Universal Pictures' "F9: The Fast Saga," now at $171 million after seven weeks of theatrical release.



But other movies have shown lackluster results, this even with 85% of U.S. theaters open over most of the summer.

Warner Bros.' “The Suicide Squad,” which opened this past weekend, pulled in a underwhelming $26.6 million, according to Comscore.
According to, Warner Bros.' estimated national TV spend for the movie was $11.7 million.

Over the last two weeks, movie studios have plunked down much of their national TV money on NBCUniversal’s “2020 Tokyo Olympics” -- which  yielded a collective 1.78 billion impressions. Before this, late-season NBA Basketball on ABC, ESPN, and TNT produced 1.65 billion impressions for theatrical movie advertising.

Of the $217.6 million spent on theatrical movies on national TV over the three-month period, Universal Pictures has spent $37.9 million, followed by Warner Bros. with $35.7 million, Walt Disney at $26.7 million; Dreamworks Animation, $21.1 million; and Marvel Studios, $17.1 million.

Two years ago, over the same three-month period, movie studios spent an estimated $298.4 million.

The biggest spend per movie this year so far is Universal’s “F9:The Fast Saga” at $23.54 million, followed by “Black Widow” at $23.52 million; Warner Bros.' “In the Heights,” $23.48 million; Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” $18.7 million; Warner Bros. “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” $18.2 million; and Universal’s “The Boss Baby: Family Business,” $16.0 million.

In addition to its $80 million opening, Disney said "Black Widow" also pulled in $60 million in pay-per-view revenue under the Disney+ Premier Access streaming platform.

Recently, Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney claiming her share of box-office revenue was lower than anticipated, impacted by at-home streaming revenue.

In addition, the National Association of Theatre Owners claimed that streaming dollars for “Black Widow” took revenue away from theater owners.

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