‘Candyman’ Doesn’t Disappoint, Topping Weekend Box Office

Universal Pictures’ horror movie Candyman finished atop the weekend box office, besting projections of less than $20 million with $22.4 million in ticket sales across 3,569 North American screens through Aug. 29. The drama, which had an 85% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes, has generated more than $27 million in worldwide ticket sales on a reported $25 million production budget.

A follow-up to the 1992 original Candyman, the film was directed by Nia DaCosta and features Yahya Abdul-Mateen II heading a largely black ensemble cast. The new Candyman supplanted Disney/20th Century Studios’ Free Guy, which earned $13.5 million across 3,940 screens. The Ryan Reynolds action comedy has realized $78 million in revenue in three weeks (more than $179 million globally).

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Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie finished in the No. 3 spot with $6.6 million, generating $24 million in North American ticket sales.

It remains to be seen if Universal will release Candyman into homes on PVOD within 17 days of release, as part of the studio’s agreement with major exhibitors for movies that generate less than $50 million in their opening box office weekend.

Regardless, the weekend box office undercut the previous two-month low of $59 million by 1.3% at $58.3 million. Other releases included Disney’s Jungle Cruise with $5 million ($100 million); Screen Gems’ Don’t Breathe 2 with $2.83 million ($24.5 million); MGM’s Respect with $2.1 million ($19.6 million); Warner Bros.’ The Suicide Squad at $2 million ($52.8 million); Lionsgate’s The Protege with $1.65 million ($5.7 million); Searchlight Pictures’ The Night House with $1.21 million ($5.7 million); and Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Widow with $855,000 ($181.5 million).

‘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).

Disney’s ‘Free Guy’ Coming to Digital Sept. 28, Disc Oct. 12

Disney/20th Century Studios’ box office hit Free Guy is hitting retail channels next month, including digital sellthrough Sept. 28, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Oct. 12. The action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds has generated almost $59 million at the domestic box office, and $112 million worldwide.

Unlike Jungle Cruise and Black Widow, Disney gave Free Guy an exclusive 45-day theatrical window, beginning Aug. 13.

Reynolds plays a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game decides to become the hero of his own story — one he rewrites himself. Now, in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way, before it’s too late.

Bonus features include deleted and extended scenes: “Guy and Buddy Hit the Beach,” “Hot Nuts Gets Blown,” and “NPC Rally”; a gag reel, and the following featurettes:

  • “Dude vs. Guy” — Reynolds, director Shawn Levy and the creative and stunt teams reveal the innovative process of creating the ultimate showdown between Guy and the wildly amped-up, spray-tanned, frosted-tipped version of himself known as Dude.
  • “Creating Molotovgirl” — Jodie Comer transforms from a brilliant programmer to her fierce movie avatar. Watch as the award-winning action star and filmmakers deconstruct the conceptualization, evolution and execution of bringing Molotovgirl to life.
  • “It’s Taika’s World”Actor Taika Waititi makes the real world just as crazy with the over-the-top character Antwan. See him at work in this entertaining showcase of a genuinely talented and hilarious performer.
  • “Welcome to Free City”Delve into the reality-skewing universe that is Free City, as revealed by director Shawn Levy, the cast, and its inventive creative teams. Find out how they transformed a real metropolis into a virtual playground where anything is possible.

‘Free Guy’ Reigns Supreme Again at Weekend Box Office

Disney/20th Century Studio’s action comedy Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, held off cute animated puppies and Hugh Jackman at the domestic box office, generating an estimated $18.8 million in revenue across more than 4,000 North American screens through Aug. 22. The tally is about 34% less than the movie’s previous weekend opening of $28.4 million. To date, the movie has generated more than $63 million in the U.S., and $112 million worldwide.

The resilient showing masked a weak overall box office that saw less than $60 million in ticket sales — the lowest weekend tally since June 20.

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In the second spot, with almost $13 million in revenue across 3,100 screens ($34.5 million globally), was Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie, an impressive debut considering the target audience is under the age of 12. The animated feature crushed Warner Bros. Pictures’ Reminiscence, starring Hugh Jackman, with just $2 million in reported revenue across 3,200 screens. The movie, along with Warner’s entire 2021 theatrical slate, is streaming for free to HBO Max subscribers for the first 31 days of release.

How bad did it get for Warner? Reminiscence revenue finished behind a pack of repeat showings, including Disney’s Jungle Cruise with $6.2 million ($92.5 million worldwide); Sony Pictures’ Don’t Breathe 2 with $5 million ($19.6 million); MGM’s Respect ($3.8 million, $15.1 million); The Suicide Squad ($3.4 million, $49.2 million); Lionsgate new release The Protege ($2.9 million) and Searchlight Pictures’ opening weekend bow of The Night House at $2.8 million.

Weekend Box Office: Can ‘Free Guy’ Hold Off ‘Paw Patrol’?

NEWS ANALYSIS — Disney’s 20th Century Studios release Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who discovers he’s a character in a video game, dominated last weekend’s domestic box office, generating more than $28 million in its theatrical debut ($60 million globally).

With a high approval score on social media and among movie critics, Free Guy would appear a lock to again top weekend ticket sales through Aug. 22, especially since Disney is not concurrently offering the movie on Premier Access as it did for Jungle Cruise and Black Widow. The movie is projected to generate more than $15 million at U.S. screens.

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But Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie aims to change that trajectory. The adventure comedy is the biggest animated theatrical release since Universal Pictures’ The Boss Baby: Family Business on July 1, which generated $16 million its opening weekend, and Warner Bros. Pictures’ animation/live-action hybrid Space Jam: A New Legacy, which scored $31 million in its opening July 18 weekend.

In addition to strong social media approval, Paw Patrol is a venerable brand for Nickelodeon through ongoing TV series and consumer products. The movie is projected to generate $14 million in domestic ticket sales.

In a recent National CineMedia and Screenvision Media consumer survey through Aug. 2, 79% of respondents were not overly concerned about the new Delta variant. Another 87% said they have seen a movie in the theater this year and plan to go to the movie theater between now and the end of this year.

The survey also found that moviegoers are outpacing the general population for being fully vaccinated (82% vs. 61% national average at the time of the survey).

Other new releases include Warner’s Reminiscence, which is also streaming for free on HBO Max; Searchlight Pictures’ horror film The Night House; and Lionsgate’s The Protégé.

Returning titles include Jungle Cruise, MGM/United Artists’ Aretha Franklin biopic Respect; Sony Pictures’ Don’t Breathe 2; Warner’s The Suicide Squad, and Universal Pictures’ Old.

Disneys ‘Free Guy’ Tops Expectations at Weekend Box Office

Ryan Reynolds is a charmer at the box office. Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy (starring Reynolds) topped opening weekend expectations and is projected to generate $28.4 million across 4,165 domestic screens through Aug. 15. The movie, with a reported $100 million production budget, added $22.5 million in international ticket sales.

The movie is Disney’s first experiment releasing a theatrical title with an a shortened exclusive 45-day window. The tally is expected to best Warner  Bros. Pictures’ $26.2 million opening weekend’s total for The Suicide Squad. The sequel to the 2016 original Suicide Squad is concurrently available on the HBO Max subscription streaming service.

Disney has taken a different approach to WarnerMedia by making the recent Black Widow and Jungle Cruise movies available as a $29.99 Premier Access Disney+ add-on for subscribers. While exhibitors have bemoaned the strategy, and Black Widow headliner Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney claiming the studio intentionally co-released the movie on Premier Access to reduce her total compensation, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the company is approaching distribution on a per-film basis.

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“We will always do what we believe is in the best interest of the film and the best interests of our constituents,” Chapek said on the company’s latest earnings call. Disney’s next major release, Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, also will have an exclusive 45-day window.

Meanwhile, The Suicide Squad saw ticket sales freefall about 70% from last weekend’s opening, generating $7.7 million, or $42.8 million total in the United States. The movie finished behind the weekend’s runner-up, Sony Pictures’ new release Don’t Breathe 2, which generated a projected $10.6 million in revenue — par for expectations.

Jennifer Hudson as R&B singer Aretha Franklin in MGM/United Artists Releasing’ Respect generated $8.8 million across more than 3,000 screens in its opening weekend.

Weekend Box Office: Disney Debuting First 45-Day Theatrical Release With ‘Free Guy’

Walt Disney Studios is set to turn another page in its ongoing pandemic experiment, in which the studio is releasing movies across different distribution channels with varying windows. Disney Aug. 13 will debut the 20th Century Studios action-comedy Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, across more than 4,100 screens in a 45-day theatrical exclusive. The movie reportedly sold $2.2 million worth of tickets in sneak preview showings Thursday night (Aug. 12).

The film will head to streaming platform Disney+ only after its 45-day theatrical window, unlike other high-profile releases that became available for home viewing concurrently at a premium price. Disney CEO Bob Chapek, speaking on the media giant’s Aug. 12 fiscal call, said the studio going forward would pivot between theatrical exclusives, “Premier Access” VOD and assorted hybrid release strategies on an movie-by-movie basis.

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Recent Disney releases Black Widow and Jungle Cruise, have had concurrent theatrical and Premier Access releases — winning both the box office and lucrative PVOD markets.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is bowing Don’t Breathe 2, the ‘R’-rated low-budget horror-thriller sequel to the 2016 original that generated $26.4 million on its opening weekend. In the current pandemic reality, starring the Delta variant infections spreading throughout the country, the movie is expected to sell no more than $11 million worth of tickets domestically.

Another new release, Respect, a biopic from MGM and United Artists Releasing on the late R&B singer Aretha Franklin, starring Jennifer Hudson, is projected to generate upwards of $10 million.

Last week’s box office topper, The Suicide Squad, is projected to see second-weekend ticket sales plummet, in an ongoing trend among major studio releases. The DC Comics movie is streaming concurrently on HBO Max.

Disney Bowing ‘Free Guy’ and ‘Shang-Chi’ in Theaters Exclusively for 45-Day Window

Disney Studios is returning to the movie theater in the late summer with exclusive (and curtailed) 45-day windows for 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy and Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Free Guy launches Aug. 13 and Shang-Chi Sept. 3.

In Free Guy, Ryan Reynolds stars as Guy, a bank teller and NPC (non-playable character) who discovers he’s living in a video game.

Shang-Chi is based on the Marvel Comics.

The films mark Disney’s first exclusive theatrical releases since the Aug. 28 release of The New Mutants.

Meanwhile, theatrical titles Cruella (June 18), Black Widow (July 9) and Jungle Cruise (July 30) will debut in cineplexes and on $29.99 Premier Access through Disney+ simultaneously.

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