One day, the theatrical industry will return to normal and we’ll all breathe a huge sigh of relief that movies are back in a big way, but with each passing weekend that date only seems to get a little further away. As expected, Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy will comfortably win the frame, but it’s going to be yet another disappointing three days, something that’s become a depressingly regular occurrence as the Delta variant has people more reticent than ever to head back to their local multiplex in numbers.
Last weekend, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad brought in $26 million to comfortably smash any and all pandemic-era records for an R-rated release, but it was still viewed as a serious under-performer when early tracking had been touting a debut as high as $40 million. Looking at the facts, then, it’s hard to argue that Free Guy is arguably performing worse given that the PG-13 action comedy is expected to hit roughly the same total seven days on.
Shawn Levy’s video game-inspired blockbuster is comfortably one of 2021’s best blockbusters, something that’s been reflected in the majority of reviews, but it hasn’t been able to drum up much in the way of business. If Free Guy sticks to $26 million then that would put it well behind Jungle Cruise and Space Jam: A New Legacy, two recent titles that were aiming for an almost identical demographic and didn’t fare anywhere near as well with critics.
Don’t Breathe 2 also came out on Friday, and the second outing for Stephen Lang’s Norman Nordstrom is set to take the runner-up spot with a shade over $10 million. Once again, it’s middling news all round at the box office, and with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings tracking for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s worst-ever opening, business isn’t out of the woods by a long shot.