Disney/20th Century's "Free Guy" thwarted four new wide releases over the weekend to reclaim the No. 1 spot in its second week at the box office with $18.8M. The Ryan Reynolds video game comedy, a theatrical exclusive, also overcame other odds including the Delta variant and the impending Hurricane Henri on the East Coast, both of which looked to keep moviegoers at home.
As it closes in on $60M, "Free Guy," an original film, is a mighty success. "Free Guy" only fell 34% from the previous week, giving it the best second weekend for any wide release this summer. A remarkable feat considering all that was going against it. Disney and other studios certainly have much to analyze, as they consider future day-and-date releases. A theatrical exclusive release continues to be the best bet, especially for launching original titles that seem primed to set up a franchise.
Four newcomers of varying release strategies looked to take the box office crown. The only one that came close was Paramount's kid-friendly "PAW Patrol: The Movie," based on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series. In spite of the film's day-and-date release on Paramount+ (which was free for subscribers), families still turned out to give the film a $13M total, placing it at No. 2. This says a lot about moviegoing comfort levels, especially as the film's prime demographic -- kids under the age of 12 -- are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
As for the remaining new releases, a mix of mostly negative reviews and lackluster audience reception would have caused the set to suffer, even if life was back to normal. Lionsgate's "The Protege," a female-led actioner with Maggie Q, only mustered $2.9M, placing it at No. 7. Searchlight's indie horror flick "The Night House," followed up with $2.9M. Last in line was WB's sci-fi flop "Reminiscence," which only yielded $2M against a reported $68M budget. Of those three, "Reminiscence" was the only film to also launch on a streaming platform, HBO Max.
Holdovers from previous weeks rounded out the Top Ten. Disney's "Jungle Cruise" was the best of the bunch, taking in $6.2M and holding on to the No. 3 spot from last weekend. The adventure film, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, is nearing a domestic total of $100M.
Can "Free Guy" continue its reign for a third week in a row? Next weekend's only big draw is Universal's "Candyman." From director Nia DaCosta and producer Jordan Peele, the horror title is serving as both a spiritual sequel and a reboot of the 1992 horror film of the same name. Anticipation for the film has been high since its trailer dropped more than a year ago. Even though "Spiral" opened soft in May, Horror has largely been a safe genre through the pandemic, with its niche audience continuing to turn out in steady numbers. Also helping "Candyman" is its theater-only release.
Box Office Top Ten: Aug. 20-22
- "Free Guy" (20th Century) - $18,790,000 / Overall: $58,812,975
- "PAW Patrol: The Movie" (Paramount) - $13,000,000 [NEW]
- "Jungle Cruise" (Disney) $6,230,000 / Overall: $92,543,828
- "Don't Breathe 2" (Screen Gems) - $5,050,000 / Overall: $19,672,202
- "Respect" (MGM) - $3,810,742 / Overall: $15,113,605
- "The Suicide Squad" (WB) - $3,410,000 / Overall: $49,271,711
- "The Protege" (Lionsgate) - $2,935,000 [NEW]
- "The Night House" (Searchlight) - $2,869,000 [NEW]
- "Reminiscence" (WB) - $2,000,000 [NEW]
- "Black Widow" (Disney) - $1,157,000 / Overall: $180,211,043
Box office data comes to us from Box Office Mojo.
About the Author
Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.