WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Free Guy Repeats at No. 1 w/ $18.8M Ahead of Paw Patrol ($13M), The Protege ($2.94M), The Night House ($2.87M) & Reminiscence ($2M)

Photo Credits: Searchlight Pictures ('The Night House'), Courtesy of Spin Master ('Paw Patrol: The Movie'), Photo by Alan Markfield. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved ('Free Guy'), Simon Varsano/Lionsgate Pictures ('The Protege'), Ben Rothstein/© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. ('Reminiscence')

Despite four new wide-release competitors entering the marketplace this weekend – Paw Patrol: The Movie, Reminiscence, The Night House and Protégé – Disney/20th Century Studios’ Free Guy managed to retain the No. 1 spot with an estimated $18.8M, a drop of just 34% from its better-than-expected $28.4M opening last weekend. The action-comedy has $ M after 10 days of release.

Free Guy has benefitted greatly from strong reviews and, particularly, superb word-of-mouth, which helped lead it to the smallest second-weekend drop of any wide opener over the summer season and the smallest of any film over the past year that opened above $10M. Also helping matters is the film’s 45-day exclusive release in theaters, giving those lured by the hype no other option but to see the crowd-pleasing title on the big-screen.

Following in second place was Paramount’s Paw Patrol: The Movie, which debuted with an estimated $13M from 3,184 locations – a decent amount for a film that was release day-and-date on the Paramount+ streaming service (not to mention one that isn’t playing at Regal Cinemas, the second-largest theater chain in the U.S. market). Though Paramount hasn’t released streaming data for the film’s opening frame, it’s highly probable that a substantial number of the film’s potential theatrical audience chose to screen the film at home, particularly given the fact that children under 12 – Paw Patrol’s key demo – aren’t yet eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Still, this is a better opening than was generally expected for the feature-length spinoff of the wildly-popular Nickelodeon animated series. That’s likely due in part to the film’s release following a several-week drought in family-friendly releases at the multiplex; the most recent, WB’s Space Jam: A New Legacy, came out over a month ago on July 16. It also likely benefitted from a “Fresh” score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In its fourth weekend, Disney’s Jungle Cruise held steady in third place with an estimated $6.2M, bringing the Dwayne Johnson-Emily Blunt title to $92.5M – a pretty solid haul in pandemic-era terms. The film’s strong weekend-to-weekend holds are particularly noteworthy given that the film has been available for home purchase on Disney+ since its opening frame.

After debuting with an okay $10.6M last weekend, Sony’s Don’t Breathe 2 dropped 52% to fourth place in its sophomore frame with an estimated $5.05M. The horror sequel has $19.67M after 10 days of release.

Another sophomore title, UA/MGM’s Respect, slid 57% to fifth place with an estimated $3.81M in its second frame. The Aretha Franklin biopic, which has stirred some awards talk for star Jennifer Hudson, has $15.78M so far.

The Suicide Squad considerably slowed its decline in its third weekend, dropping 54% to an estimated $3.41M to land in sixth place. Unfortunately, that followed a huge 72% plummet in its sophomore frame, and at this rate, there’s simply not much left in the tank theatrically for the DCEU franchise entry, which has been streaming on HBO Max since day one. Its total stands at an underwhelming $49.27M.

Bringing up the front of the rear of the pack in terms of new releases was Lionsgate’s The Protégé, which had a slight start with an estimated $2.94M from 2,577 locations in seventh place. Starring Maggie Q, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson, the action film was geared towards older adult males – the same demo also targeted by Reminiscence, the weekend’s other hard-boiled, action-centric title. Unlike Reminiscence, The Protégé was released exclusively in theaters, but apparently that didn’t do much to improve its prospects at the multiplex.

The Night House, a Searchlight Pictures horror title released by Disney, opened in eighth place to an estimated $2.87M from 2,240 locations, which was right around expectations. The film’s muted marketing campaign was a factor, but given the crowded weekend it may not have been able to break through the clutter even if awareness had been higher. The exclusive theatrical release, which notably has the best reviews of all four of the weekend’s new films, also comes on the tail end of a summer overloaded with horror movies, so fans could also just be burnt out on the genre this late in the season.

Way down in ninth place was Warner Bros.’ Reminiscence, a sci-fi title from Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy which debuted even worse than expected with a dismal $2M from 3,265 locations (a per-screen average of just $613). Despite starring Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman, the film suffered from a lack of hype, largely negative reviews and a day-and-date debut on HBO Max that made it easy to watch from home. As mentioned above, Reminiscence likely would have performed somewhat better had it not dropped the same weekend as The Protégé, which probably cut into its audience. In any event, this was clearly not a must-see for audiences.

Rounding out the top 10 was Universal’s Old, which brought in an estimated $1.1M in its fifth weekend of release. The M. Night Shyamalan title has $45.1M to date.

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UA/MGM’s Flag Day debuted on 24 screens and took in just shy of $40k, good for a per-screen average of $1,656. The Sean Penn drama will expand wider in the coming weeks.

OVERSEAS

Free Guy grossed an estimated $17.1M from 46 territories, bringing its international total to $53.1M and its global tally to $111.9M. Across previously-opened markets, the 20th Century Studios title dropped just 26%. It also boasted No. 1 openings in markets including Brazil, Spain and Portugal. Its top markets to date are the U.K. ($9.8M) and Russia ($6.1M), while it’s slated to drop in China next weekend.

In its second weekend overseas, Paw Patrol: The Movie took in an estimated $12.8M, which included 33 new openings. Its international total is $21.5M.

The Suicide Squad tallied an additional $8.7M this weekend in 73 markets, bringing its overseas total to $91.5M and its global total to $140.8M. Its top markets to date are the U.K. ($17M), Russia ($8.4M), France ($5.2M) and Germany ($4.9M).

The Boss Baby: Family Business grossed $8.4M from 27 territories, including a $5.27M opening in Russia and a $1.98M opening in France. The Universal title has $35.62M internationally and $92.14M global.

F9 saw $7.27M internationally this weekend, including a $3.1M opening in Italy. It now has $593.82M overseas and $696.41M global — the highest international and worldwide tallies of any pandemic-era release to date.

TitleWeekend EstimateLocationsPSACumeDistributorWeek
Free Guy$18,790,0004165$4,511$58,812,97520th Century Studios2
Paw Patrol$13,000,0003184$4,083$13,000,000Paramount1
Jungle Cruise$6,230,0003575$1,743$92,543,828Disney4
Don’t Breathe 2$5,050,0003005$1,681$19,672,000Sony2
Respect$3,810,7423207$1,188$15,779,000United Artists Releasing2
The Suicide Squad$3,410,0002926$1,165$49,272,000Warner Bros.3
The Protege$2,935,0002577$1,139$2,935,000Lionsgate1
The Nighthouse$2,869,0002240$1,281$2,869,000Searchlight1
Reminiscence$2,000,0003265$613$2,000,000Warner Bros.1
Black Widow$1,157,0001340$863$180,211,043Disney7
Old$1,140,0001547$737$45,183,000Universal5
The Green Knight$572,551825$694$15,944,682A244
Space Jam: A New Legacy$505,000902$560$69,224,000Warner Bros.6
Stillwater$450,0001026$439$13,575,000Focus Features4
Snake Eyes$310,000540$574$28,139,000Paramount5
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions$300,000382$785$25,189,000Sony6
F9: The Fast Saga$215,000857$251$172,517,000Universal9
The Boss Baby: Family Business$200,000994$201$56,514,000Universal8
A Quiet Place Part II$110,000349$315$160,039,000Paramount13
The Forever Purge$75,000371$202$44,351,000Universal8
Cruella$61,00080$762$85,942,571Disney13
Flag Day$40,75024$1,698$40,750United Artists Releasing1
Roadrunner$40,00087$460$5,221,000Focus Features6
Demonic$36,50085$429$36,500IFC Films1
Nine Days$30,75364$481$601,816Sony Pictures Classics4
The Lost Leonardo$19,62911$1,784$39,166Sony Pictures Classics2
12 Mighty Orphans$11,76025$470$3,552,681Sony Pictures Classics11
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)$8,00020$400$2,304,297Searchlight8
On Broadway$7,8541$7,854$7,854Kino Lorber1

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