Despite concerns the delta variant would keep moviegoers at home, Ryan Reynolds’ sci-fi action comedy “Free Guy” had a better-than-expected start at the domestic box office.
The movie, from Disney and 20th Century Studios, collected $26 million from 4,165 North American theaters. Given its production budget above $100 million, those ticket sales wouldn’t be much to celebrate in pre-pandemic times, but isn’t a bad result as a plague sweeps the globe.
Overseas, “Free Guy” amassed $22.5 million for a global tally of $51 million.
“Free Guy” marks an interesting test for the film exhibition industry because it’s playing exclusively in theaters, which is a rarity these days. Many high-profile films that premiered during the pandemic, such as Marvel’s “Black Widow” and “The Suicide Squad,” were available on streaming platforms on the same day as their theatrical debuts. The few films offered only in theaters, like Universal’s “F9,” Emily Blunt and John Krasinski’s follow-up “A Quiet Place Part II” and Paramount’s “G.I. Joe” origin story “Snake Eyes,” were each sequels in popular film franchises, unlike “Free Guy,” which is based on an original concept and isn’t part of an existing movie universe.