Nobody seemed convinced that Ryan Reynolds’ new sci-fi action film would do well at the box office due to renewed concerns over coronavirus, but Free Guy has actually managed to beat expectations. The movie has made $28.4 million domestically, which, while nothing spectacular compared to pre-pandemic figures, was apparently far higher than what industry insiders had predicted.
Free Guy’s impressive opening haul is notable for a few reasons, with one being its theatrical exclusivity. Unlike other recent films by Disney that had day-one streaming releases to fall back on, Free Guy is only available to watch in theaters, which have been experiencing lower attendances again due to rising reports of COVID-19 variants.
Free Guy’s performance is also notable for being, as director Shawn Levy put it, “the first non-IP, non-sequel that Disney has released in literally years.” This made Free Guy a risky proposition despite Ryan Reynolds’ star power, but the bet appears to have paid off for 20th Century Studios and its parent company.
Free Guy is trailed by Don’t Breathe 2 and Jungle Cruise, which made $10.6 million and $9 million over the weekend, respectively. The former is another new release starring Avatar’s Stephen Lang, who returns in his role as the blind antagonist from the original 2016 thriller, while Jungle Cruise, based on the popular Disneyland ride, has made a total of $82 million thus far.
Reynolds took to Twitter yesterday and revealed that Disney is keen on developing a sequel to Free Guy. In the film, Reynolds stars as a bank teller who learns that he’s an NPC stuck in a video game. The actor is joined by actress Jodie Comer and director Taika Waititi.
“I want the studios to see that when we give the culture, when we give the audience, something new and original, and therefore inherently original, the audience comes, the audience exists,” says Levy. “If we end up evolving in an industry that is nothing but sequels and franchises, we’ll be the poorer for it,” he adds, “Not just as an industry, but as a culture.”