Hold On! Gimme A Sec

For the second weekend in a row, Free Guy takes the top spot at the box office.

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Free Guy is the weekend box office’s good news storey once again. The Ryan Reynolds-led film topped the box office again this weekend, with the best second-weekend hold of the summer, after exceeding expectations with a higher-than-expected opening of $28.4 million last weekend. Let’s just say the three new releases that arrived in the marketplace this weekend were all D.O.A.

Free Guy grossed $18.8 million in its second weekend, dropping only 34% from weekend to weekend. This is a fantastic hold, as well as the best second-weekend hold of the summer, with major tentpole releases collapsing by over 60% in their sophomore frames. This is the much-needed good news for the box office this weekend. Some predicted that the film would lose 50% of its audience, but positive word of mouth is assisting the film, demonstrating that, despite the rise in COVID cases, the target demographic will still flock to the movies if the product is worth it. Free Guy has proven that it is worth seeing in the theatre, and it should continue to do well in the weeks ahead due to the lack of competition. By the way, the overseas version of Free Guy did well, earning $17.1 million. Free Guy has grossed $58.8 million in the United States and $111.9 million worldwide to date.

Paw Patrol comes in second with $13 million in its first week. Given that the film is also available for free to 42 million subscribers on Paramount+, the debut is impressive. The film had been tracking in the single digits, so the fact that it outperformed expectations while also being available at home is a win. Another encouraging sign for the film is that it made $13 million without the involvement of Regal Cinemas. The exhibitor and the studio have not been able to see eye-to-eye on terms because of the theatrical day-and-date release. Regal is the number two exhibitor in the U.S. behind AMC so the fact that Paw Patrol did this well without them is a great feat considering some are worried that due to the surging COVID cases family films might suffer at the box office because parents just don’t want to risk it.

With a gross of $6.2 million in weekend four, Jungle Cruise remains in third place. That’s a 31% drop, which is still a strong hold considering the film is also available to stream through Disney+ Premier Access. Despite its estimated $200 million budget, I’m going to call this a win for Disney because it’s likely doing well enough on streaming to offset some of the box office, and its current totals during these pandemic times are actually quite good. Jungle Cruise has grossed $92.5 million domestically and $173.7 million worldwide as of this weekend.

Don’t Breathe 2 is in fourth place with $5.05 million. The film’s box office dropped 53% from weekend to weekend, which is about average for a horror film and better than expected given the film’s divisive reception. Don’t Breathe 2 isn’t holding up as well as its predecessor, which did quite well in the late summer of 2016, but given the sequel’s $15 million budget, it’ll be considered a minor success in the end. Don’t Breathe 2 has grossed $19.7 million to date.

Respect, with $3.8 million, has slipped to fifth place. In weekend two, the film dropped a whopping 57 percent, demonstrating how COVID surges can affect the box office. Respect caters to the older demographic as well as African Americans, and polls show that both groups are less likely to attend the theatre during these times. Respect would do much better in a normal box office climate, but I also believe that a fall or winter release, closer to Oscar season, would have benefited the film more. Respect has grossed $15.8 million as of this weekend.

The Suicide Squad, which grossed $3.4 million, is in sixth place. This weekend, the film dropped 54 percent, marking yet another significant drop for the DC Comics film. I’m curious as to how Warner Bros. feels about this, given that the film’s budget is reported to be $185 million and it has grossed $49.2 million as of this weekend. All signs point to this film being a loss for the studio, so those HBO Max numbers better be impressive. The film had grossed $121.2 million worldwide before the weekend, which isn’t nearly enough to compensate for its underperformance in the United States.

The first of three new releases this weekend is in seventh place, and its only bragging right is that it performed the best of the three. Even in the pandemic era, The Protege’s opening weekend gross of $2.93 million was disappointing. The Protege has an impressive cast, including Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Maggie Q, but it seemed like a film that had already been there and done that. Nothing about the film’s trailers distinguished it from Atomic Blonde or Luc Besson’s Anna, a female assassin film. The pandemic box office has proven that audiences will come out to see movies if they appear to be worth their time, and this didn’t appear to be worth the trip. Surprisingly, the film has a 62 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that some critics thought it was worth recommending, but that won’t be enough to keep it from becoming a forgotten film.

The debut of the arthouse horror film The Night House, which grossed $2.8 million, is in eighth place. The Night House had the best reviews of the new releases, with an 85 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I had a sneaking suspicion that this would be a horror film that critics would adore but that the general public would scorn. The film received a “C-” CinemaScore from opening night audiences, indicating that casual moviegoers did not see what the critics saw. The Night House will almost certainly gain cult status among horror fans once it leaves theatres, but given that Searchlight paid $12 million for the global rights to the film at Sundance 2020, this isn’t the start they were hoping for.

Reminiscence, the last of our new releases, came in ninth place with a weekend gross of $2 million. The Hugh Jackman film is also available to stream on HBO Max, which I’m sure had an impact on the film’s box office performance. The movie didn’t get a lot of publicity, and the reviews weren’t great. Reminiscence has a 37 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, and its “C+” CinemaScore from opening night audiences indicates that it will fade quickly.

Black Widow, which earned $1.15 million, rounds out the top ten. The film’s box office took a 39 percent hit this weekend, bringing the total to $180.2 million. Despite the controversy surrounding the film and Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney, the film is the highest-grossing domestic film of the summer, which is something to be proud of. The film has grossed $367.8 million worldwide to date.

What are YOUR thoughts on this weekend’s box office results?

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