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‘Free Guy’ outpaced a key box office metric this weekend, adding $18.8 million to domestic tally

Jodie Comer and Ryan Reynolds star in 20th Century Studio’s “Free Guy.”

Disney

A charismatic Ryan Reynolds and good word-of-mouth helped Walt Disney’s “Free Guy” stay at the top of the box office.

The film added another $18.8 million domestically over the weekend, a 34% drop from its opening tally.

Known as the second-week hold by industry analysts, this figure indicates whether a film has staying power at the box office. For most films, a 50% to 60% drop is the norm.

“We don’t see 34% drops like this very often, particularly in the pandemic era,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

In fact, “Free Guy” had the best hold from its first to second week of any film that opened with more than $10 million in ticket sales in the last year. In total, the film has secured $112 million globally since its release.

“It’s another great signal for what a crowd-pleasing film can achieve in theaters,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com. “The conversation around this movie is sticking in a way that is wholly unique to the cinematic experience and distribution path.”

Much of the film’s box office success has been tied to its star, Reynolds, positive word-of-mouth and its theatrical-only release.

The film is a rarity in the current marketplace because it’s only available in cinemas and because it is an original concept. Most of the high-profile films that had a theatrical-only release — such as Universal’s “F9” and Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” — are part of established film franchises, giving them a ready-made fan base.

Likewise, it’s been difficult with hybrid releases, like Warner Bros.′ “The Suicide Squad,” to determine if ticket sales were hurt because of the pandemic or because the film was available to stream at home.

“‘Free Guy’ offered proof that even in this unusual marketplace good old-fashioned word-of-mouth, and a very socially engaged Ryan Reynolds, can propel a theatrical exclusive film to solid second-weekend business,” Dergarabedian said.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal distributed “F9.”

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