‘Candyman’ Looking to Supplant ‘Free Guy’ Atop Weekend Box Office

With positive reviews, strong social media buzz and a star producer, Universal Pictures’ horror sequel Candyman is looking to knock off Disney/20th Century Studios’ Free Guy from atop the domestic weekend box office through Aug. 29.

The “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 original Candyman, the new movie’s trailer on social media platforms (i.e. YouTube) has reportedly generated more than 60 million views. With a largely black ensemble cast and female director (Nia DaCosta, who is helming Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels), the movie’s marketing ace in the hole is producer Jordan Peele, whose resumé includes box office and critical hits Get Out and Us, among others.

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The title joins a heavy horror-themed 2021 release slate that includes movies such as Lionsgate’s Spiral: From the Book of Saw; The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner Bros.); The Forever Purge and Old (both Universal); and Escape Room: Tournament of Champions and Don’t Breathe 2 (Sony Pictures, Screen Gems).

Also impacting Candyman’s box office (reportedly to range from $16 million to $26 million), as well as other theatrical titles, is the ongoing pandemic, increasing Delta variant infections, and the fact Universal will release the movie in homes on premium VOD after 17 days if the first-week box office falls below $50 million.

Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds’ boyish charm continues to propel action comedy Free Guy, which has generated more than $117 million at the worldwide box office, including $64 million domestically. The movie has topped the domestic box office since its Aug. 11 release.

Other box office returners include Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie; Disney’s The Jungle Cruise; MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic Respect; Warner’s The Suicide Squad; Lionsgate’s The Protégé; opening weekend disappointment Reminiscence (Warner); and The Night House (Searchlight Pictures).

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