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It’s a weekend of mixed emotions at the domestic box office as the delta variant continues to impact moviegoing.
On the happy end, 20th Century and Disney’s Free Guy is solidifying its status as a sleeper box office hit. The action-comedy, starring Ryan Reynolds and directed by Shawn Levy, grossed $5.2 million on its second Friday for a projected $17 million sophomore weekend, easily enough to stay atop the chart, according to early estimates.
The movie’s remarkable hold means it may only drop 37 percent in its second outing.
The closest competitor is Paramount’s PAW Patrol: The Movie, which opened to $4.5 million Friday on its way to a likely $14 million debut. The kids’ pic, produced by Spin Master and based on the television series, is debuting simultaneously on Paramount+. (Free Guy is receiving an exclusive theatrical release for 45 days before heading to Disney+.)
Reminiscence, another movie opening simultaneously in the home via HBO Max and on the big screen, is sinking in its debut despite a high-profile cast. The Warner Bros.’ science-fiction thriller opened to $670,000 on Friday for a projected $2.1 million weekend.
Directed by Lisa Joy, Reminiscence stars Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira and Daniel Wu. The movie earned mixed reviews from critics and fared even worse with audiences, who gave it a C+ CinemaScore.
Reminiscence is looking at a ninth-place finish, while adult action-thriller The Protege, starring Michael Keaton, Maggie Q and Samuel L. Jackson, may only come in No. 7 with a debut in the $3 million range. From Lionsgate, The Protege earned $1.1 million on Friday.
Both Reminiscence and The Protege need older audiences, who are the most reluctant to return to movie theaters amid the surge of the delta variant, according to polling data.
Headed for No. 8 is the weekend’s third new nationwide offering, The Night House, starring Rebecca Hall. The horror pic is expected to come in with $2.6 million.
The Night House received a C CinemaScore; The Protege, a B.
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