Disney/20th Century Studios' long pandemic-delayed "Free Guy" opened to $28.4M over the weekend beating analysts' expectations. The theater-exclusive movie was facing some tough opponents, including competition from two other wide releases and the surging Delta variant. However, the Ryan Reynolds comedy beat the odds. Not only did "Free Guy" best the $11.3M opening of Reynolds' "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" from earlier in the summer, it also had the biggest opening weekend for a movie not based on an existing I.P. since Disney/Pixar's "Onward" in March 2020, just before COVID shut theaters down.
"Free Guy" also opened stronger than "The Suicide Squad" from the previous week and took Number 1 based on positive word of mouth and strong reviews, not to mention its star power from Reynolds and Taika Waititi. The movie, which came with a $100-125M price tag, might not turn a profit, but its theater exclusivity means that for the next 45 days it can stretch its legs without the worry of S/PVOD cutting into its take. In these crazy times, "Free Guy" is a success, so much so that Disney has already greenlit a sequel.
Sony/Screen Gems horror sequel "Don't Breathe 2" landed in the second spot with $10.6M. This might be less than half of the original title's breakout take of $26.4M, but that film didn't open against a health crisis. With its low production costs, horror continues to be a viable niche genre through the pandemic.
MGM's Aretha Franklin biopic "Respect," also opened wide taking in $8.8M. The musical drama, which is already generating Oscar buzz for lead Jennifer Hudson, placed No. 4, just under Disney's "Jungle Cruise," which took the No. 3 spot with $9M. On the other end of the spectrum, WB's "The Suicide Squad," in its second week, fell more than 70% to the Number 5 spot with a $7.75M take. Certainly, the comic book movie's availability on HBO Max isn't helping.
This week's new wide releases are an interesting mix of both genres and release models. WB's sci-fi thriller "Reminiscence" will open in theaters and on HBO Max, while Liongate's female-led actioner "The Protege" is a theatrical exclusive. Paramount is also experimenting with the day-and-date strategy, as they open the family-friendly "PAW Patrol: The Movie" in theaters and on their budding platform Paramount+.
Box Office Top Ten: Aug. 13-15
- "Free Guy" (20th Century) - $28,400,000 [NEW]
- "Don't Breathe 2" (Screen Gems) - $10,600,000 [NEW]
- "Jungle Cruise" (Disney) $9,000,000 / Overall: $82,142,554
- "Respect" (MGM) - $8,806,106 [NEW]
- "The Suicide Squad" (WB) - $7,750,000 / Overall: $42,884,747
- "Old" (Universal) - $2,400,000 / Overall: $42,957,640
- "Black Widow" (Disney) - $2,000,000 / Overall: $178,199,531
- "Stillwater" (Focus Features) - $1,300,000 / Overall: $12,542,695
- "The Green Knight" (A24) - $1,163,401 / Overall: $14,738,256
- "Space Jam: A New Legacy" (WB) - $1,115,000 / Overall: $68,082,738
Box office data comes to us from Box Office Mojo.
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.