Free Guy is once again the good news story of the weekend box office. After exceeding expectations, last weekend with a higher than anticipated opening of $28.4 million, the Ryan Reynolds-led film topped the box office again this weekend and experienced the best second-weekend hold of the summer. As for the three new releases that entered into the marketplace this weekend, let’s just say they were all D.O.A.
In weekend two, Free Guy grossed $18.8 million and dropped a mere 34% weekend-to-weekend. This is a fantastic hold and it’s also the best second-weekend hold of the summer which has seen major tentpole releases collapse more than 60% in their sophomore frames. This is the good news that the box office needed this weekend. Some thought that the film was going to slide by 50% but good word of mouth is certainly helping the movie out and it shows that, despite COVID cases surging, the target demographic will come out to the movies if the product is worth it. Free Guy has proven that it is worth a trip to the cinema and it should continue to play well in the weeks ahead because there isn’t a lot of competition coming its way. By the way, overseas Free Guy also did solid business as it earned $17.1 million. To date, Free Guy has grossed $58.8 million in the U.S. and $111.9 million worldwide.
Debuting in second is Paw Patrol with $13 million. The debut is impressive given the fact that the film is also available for free to 42 million subscribers on Paramount+. The film was tracking in the single digits range so the fact that it exceeded tracking while also being available at home, should be considered a win. Another promising sign for the film is that it grossed $13 million without having Regal Cinemas in play. 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.
Jungle Cruise continues to play well in third with a gross of $6.2 million in weekend four. That’s a drop of 31% which is a solid hold considering the film is also available to stream via the Disney+ Premier Access program. I’m going to call this a win for Disney despite its estimated $200 million budget because it’s likely doing well enough on streaming to make up for some of the box office and its current totals during these pandemic times are actually pretty good. As of this weekend, Jungle Cruise has grossed $92.5 million domestically and $173.7 million globally.
Falling to fourth is Don’t Breathe 2 with $5.05 million. The film dropped 53% from weekend-to-weekend which is pretty much in line for a horror movie and better than expected considering the polarizing response to the film. Don’t Breathe 2 is definitely not holding like its predecessor which legged it out pretty well during the late summer of 2016 but given the sequel’s $15 million budget, Don’t Breathe 2 will be considered a small win in the end. To date, Don’t Breathe 2 has grossed $19.7 million.
Sliding to fifth place is Respect with $3.8 million. The film dropped a pretty massive 57% in weekend two and this is where we find how COVID surges can affect the box office. Respect caters to the older demographic and African Americans and polls have shown both demos are more reluctant to head to the theater during these times. If this was a normal box office climate, I think Respect would be performing much better but I also think a fall or winter release, closer to Oscar season, would’ve benefitted the film more. As of this weekend, Respect has grossed $15.8 million to date.
In sixth place, we have The Suicide Squad which grossed $3.4 million. The film dropped 54% this weekend which is another big slide for the DC Comics film. I’d really like to know how Warner Bros. feels about this because the budget is a reported $185 million and, as of this weekend, the film has grossed $49.2 million. Those HBO Max numbers better be impressive because all signs point to this movie being a loss for the studio. Ahead of the weekend, the film had grossed $121.2 million worldwide and that’s not nearly enough to make up for its underperformance in the U.S.
In seventh place, we find the first of the three new releases this weekend and its only bragging right is that it performed the best of the three. The Protege opened to $2.93 million which is disappointing even in the pandemic-era box office. The film has an impressive cast consisting of Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Maggie Q but The Protege looked like a film that had a “been there, done that”quality to it. Nothing about the film in its trailers made it stand out from something like Atomic Blonde or Luc Besson’s female assassin movie, Anna. The pandemic box office has proven audiences will come out for movies if they appear worth their time and this just wasn’t something that looked like it was worth the trip. Surprisingly, the film is 62% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes so some critics found something worth recommending but that won’t be enough to allow the film from quickly becoming an afterthought.
In eighth place, we find the debut of the arthouse horror film, The Night House, which grossed $2.8 million. The Night House was the best-reviewed film of the new releases with an 85% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes but I had a strong feeling this would be a horror film that critics would love but the general moviegoing public would turn their noses up to. The sign that this is the case is that the film scored a “C-” CinemaScore from opening night audiences which indicates that casual moviegoers definitely didn’t see what the critics saw. The Night House will likely find some cult status once it exits theaters amongst horror fans but considering Searchlight shelled out $12 million for the global rights to the film at Sundance 2020, this isn’t the start they were hoping for.
In ninth place, we have the last of our new releases as Reminiscence grossed $2 million over the weekend. The Hugh Jackman film is also available to stream on HBO Max and I’m sure that affected what little box office heat the movie was generating. There wasn’t a ton of promotion behind the film and reviews also weren’t kind. The movie scored a 37% rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes and its “C+” CinemaScore from opening night audiences shows that Reminiscence will fade quickly.
Rounding out the top ten is Black Widow which grossed $1.15 million. The film slid 39% this weekend and has grossed $180.2 million to date. Despite all the drama surrounding the film and Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney, the movie is the highest-grossing film of the summer at the domestic box office so that is something to celebrate. To date, the film has grossed $367.8 million globally.
What are YOUR thoughts on this weekend’s box office results?