Going into the weekend a lot was riding on Ryan Reynolds videogame adventure comedy Free Guy, with many studios pushing back their late-summer tentpoles in the wake of a pandemic surge, and strong rumours that the performance of this Disney property would dictate the release strategy of Marvel’s forthcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Well, for now it seems at though Free Guy has completed Level 1 with ease as it managed to gross a better-than-expected $28.4 Million to top the U.S. box-office this weekend.
It appears that positive reactions (read our ★★★ review here) for a film which isn’t sequel/remake/reboot have led to audiences to venture from their homes to take in the ‘only in theatres’ experience. The $100M budgeted movie also earned $22.5M from international markets, giving it a global cume of $51M.
The biggest test, which has been the real success story for any film released during the pandemic, is to see how Free Guy holds up in its sophomore frame. There have been a few films, most notably Space Jam: A New Legacy, which have surprised everyone with its impressive opening, only to see its takings plummet the following week.
That is a fate which has befallen James Gunn’s much ballyhooed The Suicide Squad, which opened with a below-par $25M last weekend, and has suffered a staggering -72% decline during its second frame, grossing just $7.7M. It’s total stands at $42M at the U.S. box-office, and at this rate it is on track to have a domestic gross lower than the opening day receipts for the 2016 original. Pandemic or not, they aren’t great numbers for Warner Bros.
Another film that has seen a steep decline from its predecessors performance is Sony’s Don’t Breathe 2, which earned $10.6M. Having said that, 2016’s Don’t Breathe was a real breakout sleeper hit, and the production budget for the Stephen Lang headlined follow-up sits at a meagre $15M, so that’s a pretty decent start for the horror sequel.
Elsewhere in the chart, Jennifer Hudson’s Aretha Franklin biopic Respect notched up $8.8M in ticket sales, while Jungle Cruise and Old held well to take their totals to $82M and $42M respectively.
The full chart can be found over at BoxOfficeMojo.