LOS ANGELES -- The baddies of "Suicide Squad" are getting pummeled by critics, but they're fighting back at the box office.
The film took in an estimated $20.5 million in Thursday preview showings, a record for an August opening according to studio estimates Friday.
The previous August record-holder was "Guardians of the Galaxy," which earned $11.2 million in 2014, not adjusted for inflation.
By comparison, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," which opened in March, launched with a $27.7 million Thursday.
Directed by David Ayer and starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, "Suicide Squad" has been tracking for a $140 million weekend, but it remains to be seen whether poor reviews take a toll. The film is the next step in the DC Comics and Warner Bros. expanded universe and cost around $175 million to produce.