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There was something for everyone at the July Fourth box office.
Universal’s F9: The Fast Saga kept the pedal to the metal in its second outing with a projected $22.9 million 4,203 theaters for the three-day weekend and $30.1 million for the four-day holiday, according to updated estimates.
To boot, the action pic crossed $100 million domestically in record time for the pandemic era. Also on Monday, the movie was expected to cross the $500 million globally — a milestone — making it the top-grossing Hollywood title released in 2020 or 2021. That includes $123.2 million domestically.
Universal dominated the marquee all the way around, thanks to offering two new films in addition to F9: DreamWorks Animation’s sequel The Boss Baby: Family Business and the R-rated dystopian horror pic The Forever Purge, a perennial July Fourth favorite and the fifth installment in Blumhouse’s hit dystopian franchise.
Boss Baby 2 — which is also debuting on Peacock — reported a three-day box office opening of $16 million from 3,640 cinemas and $20 million for the four-day holiday. While that’s well below the $50 million debut of the 2017 sleeper hit, Universal believes that family fare have long legs. And while critics didn’t love the pic, audiences gave it an A CinemaScore (the first received an A-).
The follow-up to the first Boss Baby reunites the Templeton brothers, voiced by Alec Baldwin. They are now grown and drifted away from each other. One is a married, stay-at-home dad; the other, a hedge fund CEO. But a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach and a can-do attitude is about to bring them together again and inspire a new adventure.
Other additions to the series include Eva Longoria, Ariana Greenblatt, Jeff Goldblum and Amy Sedaris, who voices the new infant. Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel reprise their roles as the parents of the Templeton boys.
The Forever Purge targeted a third-day finish with $12.5 million from 3,451 locations and $15.7 million, respectively.
Numbers could shift when the final figures for the four-day holiday frame are re-tallied on Monday.
Directed by Everardo Gout, The Forever Purge is set on the Texas side of the border with Mexico, where arbitrary borders become physical walls and a fetish for gun rights amplifies the dangers of being an unwelcome visitor.
The July Fourth is historically a lucrative corridor for moviegoing and usually sports a huge, new tentpole. This year’s numbers will be lower than usual because of the ongoing box office recovery. Top Gun: Maverick had been expected to lead the 2021 fireworks show, but Paramount opted to push back the Tom Cruise sequel to fall.
Paramount was still a key player in the holiday parade with A Quiet Place Part II, which will finish Monday with an estimated worldwide total of $267.9 million (domestically, it’s still ahead of F9 with roughly $145.4 million in ticket sales. The hit horror sequel came in No. 4 over July Fourth with $4.1 million for the three days and $5.2 million for the four.
At the specialty box office, A24 opened 2020 Sundance sensation Zola in 1,468 theaters (in pre-pandemic times, it likely would have gotten its start in New York and Los Angeles, but that practice has been become challenged).
Zola, launching on Wednesday, posted a six-day debut of $2.4 million, one of the best showings for an indie since the COVID-19 crisis commenced. That included a four-day weekend of $1.7 million.
Taylour Paige and Riley Keough star in the acclaimed film, an odyssey through the Florida flesh trade that is based on one woman’s epic Twitter rant that went viral in 2015.
Searchlight’s Summer of Soul (Or When the Revolution Couldn’t be Televised) scored the top documentary opening of the year with a solid three-day weekend debut of $600,000 in 752 theaters and $800,000 for the four.
Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson in his filmmaking debut, the doc chronicles The Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969, a six-day event celebrating Black pride and unity that showcased a who’s who of Black artists. The footage has largely never been seen. Thompson’s critically acclaimed Summer of Soul received a coveted A+ Cinemascore.
July 4, 8:15 a.m. Updated with revised estimates.
July 5, 7:45 a.m. Updated with revised estimates.
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The Green Knight