Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Candyman Hooks $22.4 Million Opening Weekend, Slashing Through Expectations

Nia DaCosta's horror sequel is a hit, Jungle Cruise crosses $100 million, and Free Guy continues its strong run on the weekend of August 27-29, 2021.

by | August 29, 2021 | Comments

“Nobody knows anything” is the old adage when it comes to the film industry and variations of that sentiment have often applied to the reporting of box office – though maybe not quite as much as it has in the past six months. The numbers in recent weeks, and particularly this week, indicate a level of normalcy could be coming back to the box office in some respects – especially with Universal’s horror release Candyman over-performing expectations.


King of the Crop: Candyman‘s Sweet Weekend A Late-Summer Sign of Hope

Candyman

(Photo by Parrish Lewis / Universal Pictures and MGM Studios)

This week saw the opening Nia DaCosta’s long-awaited reboot/sequel to Bernard Rose’s 1992 Candyman. That original film is Certified Fresh at 76% on the Tomatometer, made $25.7 million at the box office at the time of its release, and spawned one theatrical sequel, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh ($13.9 million/26% on the Tomatometer) and a direct-to-video sequel, Candyman: Day of the Dead (9% on the Tomatometer). That was from 1992-1999.

Nowadays, we can generally determine the potential of a film’s opening weekend based on its Thursday-night preview gross. In this case, DaCosta’s Candyman began with a respectable $1.9 million last Thursday night, a number that lined up with a number of other horror films’ performances. Here is a list of some of them with their Thursday-night and opening weekend grosses.

  • Annabelle ($2.1 million Thursday night / $37.1 million opening weekend)
  • The Devil Inside ($2 million / $33.7 million)
  • Split ($2 million / $40 million)
  • Insidious: The Last Key ($2 million / $29.5 million)
  • Don’t Breathe ($1.87 million / $26.4 million)
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane ($1.8 million / $24.7 million)
  • Evil Dead (2013) ($1.8 million / $25.7 million)
  • The Grudge (2020) ($1.8 million / $11.4 million)
  • Get Out ($1.8 million / $33.3 million)
  • Lights Out ($1.8 million / $21.6 million)
  • Saw 3D ($1.7 million / $22.5 million)
  • Child’s Play (2019) ($1.65 million / $14 million)
  • The Invisible Man (2020) ($1.65 million / $28.2 million)
  • Jigsaw ($1.6 million / $16.6 million)
  • Insidious Chapter 3 ($1.55 million / $22.6 million)

That is roughly an average of a $25.8 million opening weekend for these 15 films that opened between $1.55 million and $2.1 million in previews. Not to be found on that list, of course, is any film to open during the pandemic; The Invisible Man is the closest film we have to that and it opened less than two weeks before things truly started shutting down. Thursday-night previews began coming back in April and have come back more full-time since Memorial Day weekend. In that time we have seen Old start with $1.5 million and open with $16.8 million and other horror films bringing in smaller numbers such as The Forever Purge ($1.33 million/$12.5 million), Escape Room: Tournament of Champions ($1.2 million/$8.8 million), and Don’t Breathe 2 ($965,000/$10.6 million).

Candyman, which like all of those films is a theatrical exclusive, bested all of them on Thursday and found itself with a $22.4 million opening weekend. That puts it more in line with the general average we had seen for horror movies prior to the pandemic. Certainly, this is also a one-off that is benefiting from significant name recognition, as did A Quiet Place Part II and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (which, even with HBO Max status, began with $24.1 million), so even the science of numbers suggests we have to wait for more patterns to emerge. Between this strong late-summer start and the continuing success of Free Guy, we may not be back to full pre-pandemic strength but the numbers do not appear to be going in the wrong direction either.


The Top 10 And Beyond: The Free Guy Success Story Continues As Jungle Cruise Crosses $100 Million

Free Guy continues to be one of the most positive stories of the summer box office. It dropped just 27% this weekend, earning another $13.6 million. How positive is that? It is only the best third-weekend of any film during the pandemic, ahead of A Quiet Place Part II ($12 million), Black Widow ($11.6 million), and F9 ($11.4 million). Free Guy is not going to approach the loftier grosses of those movies and still trails the pace of Jungle Cruise by about $3.5 million overall. But its third weekend bested Cruise’s ($9.1 million) and that film just crossed the $100 million line after making $5 million this weekend. (That itself the second-best fifth weekend behind A Quiet Place Part II ($6.1 million) and ahead of F9 ($4.8 million)). Free Guy may take a bigger hit with Shang-Chi opening next weekend, but with $79.3 million in the coffers so far, it should remain ahead of Godzilla vs. Kong’s pace this week and remain on track to cross $100 million. Its global total stands at $179 million.

Last week’s minor breakout success, Paw Patrol: The Movie, fell back 50% and brought in another $6.6 million this weekend. How does that stack up with fellow kids’ movies also streaming during their theatrical runs? There’s HBO Max’s Space Jam: A New Legacy (fell 69.1% down to $9.5 million in its second weekend) and Tom & Jerry (fell 53.9% to $6.5 million), as well as Peacock’s The Boss Baby: Family Business (fell 44% down to $8.8 million). Peter Rabbit 2, a theatrical exclusive, dropped 39% to $6 million in its second weekend. Paw Patrol’s 10-day haul of $24.1 million puts it ahead of Tom & Jerry’s $22.8 million, but it will likely fall short of the March release’s $46 million total.


On The Vine: Shang-Chi Offers a Test for Theatrical Exclusives 

The all-time best Labor Day weekend is about to become another of Disney’s conquests as Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens. The film will be the first of Disney’s slate not made available with Premier Access on Disney+ since the pandemic began. Though, even with theatrical exclusivity, Shang-Chi is unlikely to beat Black Widow’s current total of $180 million, even though it could top the box office for three-to-five weeks straight.


Full List of Box Office Results: August 27-29, 2021


  • $22.4 million ($22.4 million total)

  • $13.6 million ($79.3 million total)

  • $6.6 million ($24.1 million total)

  • $5 million ($100.1 million total)

  • $2.8 million ($24.6 million total)

  • $2.1 million ($19.6 million total)

  • $2 million ($52.8 million total)

  • $1.7 million ($5.7 million total)

  • $1.2 million ($5.2 million total)

  • $855,000 million ($181.5 million total)


Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]


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