Free Guy Opens to $2.2 Million at Thursday Night Previews

Free Guy's Thursday preview numbers are out and they might be a bit less than you'd expect. Variety reports that the film opened to about $2.2 million on Thursday. Now, that's a bit of a staggering number for a film that costs more than 50 times that amount to create. But, the estimates for the entire opening weekend are only $15 to $18 million and it's right on pace to be near Jungle Cruise. A stark contrast to what these figures would have been back in the era before the pandemic. Analysts have had to take into account that there are only 4,165 theaters here in North America for opening weekend. Some of the estimates are a bit more optimistic, banking on the unique premise and the star power of Ryan Reynolds. The delta variant's current rise in the United States is a cause for concern among exhibitors as well. Venom: Let There Be Carnage just suffered another delay as the prognosis on the theater situation took another dip yesterday. A lot of fans were equally relieved and horrified to learn that Disney would be keeping Shang-Chi in theaters no matter what happened in the time between now and early September.

On yesterday's Walt Disney Company earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek addressed the speculation that both Free Guy and Shang-Chi would move to Disney+ Premier Access. None of that is in the cards right now.

"As you probably recognize, we live in a very uncertain world in terms of the recovery of some of our markets, and the theatrical exhibition world is certainly a part of that. We said from the very beginning that we value flexibility and being able to make as last-minute calls as we can, given what we see in the marketplace," Chapek explained to the collected press. "Certainly, when we planned our schedule that we're executing right now, we did not anticipate — nor do I think anybody — the resurgence of Covid with a Delta variant that would have such a significant impact on the marketplace."

"On Free Guy, obviously this is a title that we acquired under a different distribution assumption and set of agreements, so we don't have the degree of freedom to do that," he continued when asked about the Fox acquisition. "On Shang-Chi, we actually think it's going to be an interesting experiment for us because it's got only a 45-day window for us. The prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to the service after going theatrical for 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles."

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