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Box office: 'Free Guy' scores high for second weekend in a row as 'Reminiscence' bombs

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Aug 22, 2021, 1:29 PM EDT

Free Guy once again nabbed the high score at the domestic box office during its second weekend with an additional $18.8 million (that's a 34 percent decline from its $28.4 million debut a week ago). After two weekends, the meta video game comedy directed by Shawn Levy and starring Ryan Reynolds is nearing $60 million in North America.

Globally, the film has surpassed $100 million with almost $112 million in worldwide ticket sales. Disney, which released the long-delayed project under the 20th Century Studios banner it acquired in 2018, already wants to produce a sequel.

Credit: 20th Century Studios/Disney

Lisa Joy's feature-length debut, Reminiscence, opened this weekend with a rather abysmal $2 million in domestic returns. The Warner Bros. title is also available to stream on HBO Max, which many audience members see as the safer option, given the rise in COVID-19 cases driven by the more contagious delta variant. It could also be a result of WB not putting a ton of marketing effort into the film, which only premiered one trailer (see below) two months ago. Reminiscence didn't coalesce any better overseas with a muted international showing of $3 million for a global opening of $5 million.

"The theatrical exclusive run for Free Guy has provided the perfect scenario for a film that continues to generate great buzz, has a very socially-activated star in Ryan Reynolds, and is not yet available at home. This is reflected in the modest 34 percent second weekend drop," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. "Notably, small weekend-over-weekend drops during the pandemic-era have been tough to find with so many wide releases (particularly those with a hybrid strategy) taking big drops in their sophomore sessions. Reminiscence, by virtue of its day-and-date availability allowed for interested viewers to take the stay-at-home route, and as we’ve seen over the past year, this can often deliver mixed results for films looking to make a splash in theaters."

A sci-fi neo-noir in the vein of Blade Runner and Minority Report , the film stars Hugh Jackman as Nick Bannister, a grizzled gumshoe-type who allows clients to relive their memories via futuristic technology in a neon-soaked version of Miami ravaged by the rising waters of climate change. When a femme fatale named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) strikes up a spicy romance with Nick and then promptly goes missing, Bannister will stop at nothing to find her. Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira, and Daniel Wu co-star.

"It holds on to the spine of a noir film, even though in many parts of the film it feels very different,” Jackman recently told SYFY WIRE. “It has a very poetic, bittersweet feeling at the end. I don’t want to give anything away, but it resonates. What Lisa can do with story and genre, I think very few people can.”

Joy is best-known as a co-creator, executive producer, and co-showrunner on HBO's Westworld series.

Paramount's Paw Patrol: The Movie bounded into second place in North America with a debut showing of $13 million. Internationally, the kid-friendly animated offering has made $21.5 million, bringing the global cume to just over $34 million.

Now in its sophomore outing, Sony's Don't Breathe 2 landed in fourth place domestically with an additional $5 million, boosting the sequel's North American performance to almost $20 million. Worldwide, the revenge-fueled adventure of Stephen Lang's Norman Nordstrom stands at $27.1 million.

A pair of horror flicks — The Night House (Fox Searchlight) and Demonic (IFC Midnight) — bowed to $2.9 million and $36,500, respectively. Not massive numbers, but both cost a lot less to produce than Reminiscence, which had an estimated price tag of around $68 million. In particular, Demonic was always intended to be a low-budget outing for writer/director Neill Blomkamp.

"I was always heavily influenced by Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, and I knew — even going back years — I knew that at some point I really wanted to try to self-finance a small horror film to just go through that experience and see what that would be like," the District 9 filmmaker told us. "I always had that in the back of my head, and then I think of this movie like a whole bunch of puzzle pieces that were all sort of separate elements that came together. So I had the sort of love affair with these low-budget horror films that filmmakers had just shot themselves in locations that they had access to, which I thought was really creative. Then the pandemic happened, and any bigger project was on pause until people knew what was happening."

After opening in the U.S. and many international markets throughout July, Pixar's Luca has finally made it to Chinese shores, where it opened to $5 million. The movie has brought in just over $22 million at the international box office — not a huge splash, given that it opened exclusively on Disney+ in North America.

Now in its third weekend, The Suicide Squad, reached $140.8 million globally. James Gunn's cinematic do-over for Task Force X disappointed at the box office — perhaps due to a combination of pandemic concerns, Warner Bros.' hybrid model for 2021, and a lingering bad taste for the first Suicide Squad released in 2016.

Notable genre holdovers include:

  • DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby: Family Business ($92.1 million globally)
  • Universal Pictures' F9 ($696.41 million globally)
  • Universal Pictures' Old ($80.5 million globally)
  • Universal Pictures' The Forever Purge ($71.3 million globally)
  • Disney's Jungle Cruise (173.7 million globally)
  • Marvel Studios' Black Widow ($367.8 million globally)
  • Sony Pictures' Escape Room: Tournament of Champions ($39 million globally)
  • Warner Bros.' Space Jam: A New Legacy ($148.7 million globally)
  • Paramount Pictures' Snake Eyes ($35.7 million globally)
  • Paramount Pictures' A Quiet Place Part II ($295 million globally)

MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty

(Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation & SYFY WIRE are both owned by NBCUniversal)

Certain financial information via Box Office Mojo