The world of cinema has been rocked by the pandemic for the last 17 months, changing the way we watch movies, and one particular experience that has been missed the most during this time has been the opportunity to watch a good horror film in a packed theater. The energy and atmosphere that the genre can muster is unique and special, and bathing in its palpable effects is one of the true pleasures of the medium. And while we are obviously not back to normal yet, audiences clearly wanted a taste of that feeling this past weekend, as Nia DaCosta’s Candyman has arrived and has claimed the title of number one movie in North America after its first three days.
Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!
Late August is not generally seen as a great release window, as it's typically a time when people are wrapping up summer vacations and parents are getting kids ready for the new school year. Candyman, however, was able to conjure up quite a bit of buzz (no pun intended) and translated that chatter into a $22.4 million win at the box office. That's a win by any standard too, as the top earner in the corresponding weekend in 2019 (a.k.a. pre-pandemic) was Ric Roman Waugh's Angel Has Fallen, which made $11.8 million in its opening weekend.
Looking back on the last few weeks, the new horror movie brought in money comparable to both Shawn Levy's Free Guy, and James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, as they all landed in the $20-30 million range, but Candyman is easily the biggest success of the trio, and it all comes down to price tag. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nia DaCosta's film was made for a budget of $25 million, which is nothing compared to the nine digit cost of the other two.
Of course, the elephant in the room that can't be ignored is that Candyman is also another 2021 release that didn't go with a hybrid release model, and is currently only available to watch in theaters. It's possible that it won't be immune from the deep second weekend plunge that a lot of other big releases have been experiencing in the last few months, including streaming and non-streaming titles alike, but there are also reasons to believe that it may end up showing some legs.
In addition to getting positive reviews and being based on notable IP, Candyman was surely a draw to theaters at least in part because of Jordan Peele's involvement. The filmmaker has a stellar big screen reputation that he has developed in the last half-decade – obviously thanks to the massive successes of Get Out and Us – and his involvement with the new release as both a co-writer and producer undoubtedly earned the project some extra attention. Peele's brand is only growing stronger in the horror genre, and it only raises anticipation for his next directorial effort, Nope.
Candyman won't have a long run as the number one movie domestically, as are now just a few days away from the release of the next Marvel Studios production, but Candyman is a movie that has the potential to stick around in the bottom half of the Top 10 as we edge closer and closer to the Halloween season.
Candyman was the only new wide release of the weekend, which certainly gave it an advantage towards premiering at the top of the box office chart, but the other movies playing around the country still managed to sell a solid number of tickets – starting with the Free Guy. After not experiencing the aforementioned deep second weekend plunge in the last Friday-to-Sunday cycle (dipping only 34 percent), the video game-inspired blockbuster has continued to do well, and only went down another 27 percent compared to the same time frame last week. To date it has made $79.3 million, which makes it the seventh highest grossing release of 2021 thus far, and it is only seven million away from overtaking Craig Gillespie's Cruella in sixth place.
Cal Brunker's PAW Patrol: The Movie, which came out last weekend both in theaters and on Paramount+, also had a decent showing at the box office, and only went down 50 percent compared to its debut. The full totality of the animated film's success is hard to quantify given that the subscriber and streaming traffic numbers aren't made available, but to date the big screen side of the release has brought in $24.1 million, which is just a bit shy of matching the production's $25 million budget (according to Forbes).
One big milestone that is worth celebrating in the fourth line of the box office chart above. Jaume Collet-Serra's Jungle Cruise has done an impressive job hanging tight in the Top 5 ever since it was released in late July, and while it hasn't been adding massive piles of cash to its domestic total each week, the film has now joined 2021's very limited club of films to make north of $100 million domestically. The other titles on this exclusive list are Cate Shortland's Black Widow ($188.5 million), Justin Lin's F9 ($172.7 million), John Krasinski's A Quiet Place Part II ($160.1 million), and Adam Wingard's Godzilla vs. Kong ($100.6 million). We'll have to wait and see if any of the other movies currently out or forthcoming can hit that that milestone as well.
On the subject of expected successes, this Friday will see the arrival of a brand new Marvel Cinematic Universe hero on the big screen, as Destin Daniel-Cretton's Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings will be playing in theaters everywhere. Like Candyman, it's arriving on a wave of positive buzz, but will it be able to out-gross the $80 million made by Black Widow in July, which was simultaneously available on Disney+ via Premier Access? That will be the big narrative we look at in next Sunday's box office report, so be sure to check back here on CinemaBlend then.
NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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