Box Office Breakdown: ‘Candyman’ scares its way to the top of the charts

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In this column “Box Office Breakdown,” we are discussing the weekend box office results and other general news pertaining to the film industry. 

This weekend, there was only one new film getting a wide release: Universal Pictures’ slasher “Candyman.” The movie is a sequel/reboot of the 1992 picture with the same title. It is written and directed by young filmmaker Nia DaCosta and co-written and produced by horror magnate Jordan Peele. The film stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Colman Domingo. 

“Candyman” broke the boundary of becoming the first film directed by a Black female to reach No. 1 in the domestic box office. The movie earned a total of $22,370,000, and even with only a $25 million budget, the movie has a solid chance of making a profit.  

That being said, distributors are testing the market with new theatrical distribution models and “Candyman” bears no exception. According to Deadline, Universal is testing out a 21-day theatrical window for the film, meaning that it will be mostly out of theaters come mid-September. With that caveat and the fact that horror films often have large week-to-week drops, we will have to wait and see how Candyman holds up next weekend. 

In its third week of wide release, Ryan Reynolds’ film “Free Guy” comes in second. For those advocating for theatrical-only releases – instead of day-and-date releases on streaming and in theaters, such as with “Jungle Cruise” – “Free Guy” is proving the model can still work. It had its second straight weekend of a drop of -35% or below, with only 27% less gross week-to-week. This pushes the film’s domestic gross to almost $80 million and its worldwide gross ever-so-close to $180 million. With a reported budget north of $100 million, it needs its legs to last if it wants to break-even, though in these turbulent times, its gross is quite commendable. 

Wrapping up the top five are “PAW Patrol: The Movie” with a gross of $6.6 million, “Jungle Cruise” in its fifth week with a gross just over $5 million and the horror film “Don’t Breathe 2” with earnings slightly north of $2.8 million. 

The box office will look very different next weekend as the much awaited film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is opening in theaters. The Marvel Studios film will have a 45-day theatrical window and no Disney+ Premier Access option, unlike their previously released film “Black Widow.” I expect a domestic opening between $80 and $90 million. If it holds similar to “Free Guy,” it will be in a great position to make a profit.  

However, we will have to wait and see. As always, the only thing predictable about the box office is its unpredictability. 

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