Weekend Wrap Up - a look at this week’s Industry Updates

July 26, 2021

This past weekend saw the launch of two more theatrical exclusives: M. Knight Shyamalan’s new supernatural horror film, Old, and the next entry in Paramount’s G.I. Joe series, Snake Eyes.


Although moviegoers have already seen a number of horror films this summer – A Quiet Place II, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and the Forever Purge – the audience for the genre has not decayed. Old took the number one spot with a $16.5M opening weekend. Director Shyamalan has been on a hit streak after the successes of The VisitSplit, and Glass. In order, they cost $5M, $9M, and $20M to make and grossed $99M, $279M and $247M worldwide. A more appropriate non-Shyamalan directed comparison would be July 2019’s Crawlbut Old should be as profitable as his past works with a reported budget of only $18M. As far as the director’s brand goes, this was the 14th Shyamalan film to open above $15M and seventh to debut as number one.


Snake Eyes is the runner-up with a $13.4M opening weekend. More of a reboot than a spin-off, it starred none of the actors from earlier G.I Joe films: 2009’s The Rise of Cobra with Channing Tatum, and 2013’s Retaliation with Dwayne Johnson. This was an origin story for the title character starring Crazy Rich Asian’s Henry Golding with the hopes of reviving the franchise after an eight year hiatus – along with Hasbro’s action figure revenues. No one expected the film to do as much as the older Joe movies and no one asked for it to be madeSnake Eyes had a smaller budget than the first two films ($88M vs the first two’s $175M and $130M). Still – according to moviegoers, the film is a marked improvement over the first two films: Snake Eyes’ 74% on RottenTomatoes makes it the best reviewed film of the series.


Rounding out the top three is Black Widow with $11.6M – crossing $150M with a to-date total of $154.8M. That’s just 6% behind 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, which had taken $165M in three weekends. 


Fourth place went to Space Jam 2’s sophomore weekend of $9.6M. Although it is steep drop, the $51M to-date total is still ahead of the original Space Jam’s second weekend total of $48M. 


With those four in mind, this weekend was close to being the second time since the February 14, 2020 weekend where four films grossed over $10M each. The first was the June 11 four-piece of A Quiet Place IIIn The HeightsThe Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. Anyway, the floor for box-office revenues continues to be on the rise, as this weekend earned $70M in total.


Despite all the asterisks around it, the box-office recovery remains on pace. 22 days into Q3, and 2021’s domestic box office total stands at $1.5B – a third (or $430M) of which has been earned since July 1st. That is more than triple the first 22 days of Q2 ($125M) and almost ten times that of Q1 ($45M).


In other news, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar reminded us that among the 45-day theatrical exclusives expected from the Warner Bros. studio in 2022, there will alsobe at least 10 films that will premier day-and-date on HBO Max and theaters. I say reminded because the studio had previously planned for 8 to 10 original films on HBO Max in February 2020, before the pandemic. Just like the competition – Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon – the studio aims to provide a healthy mix of feature films and episodic programming to draw in and keep new subscribers. Whether these HBO Max hybrid releases will be small budget films (Those Who Wish Me Dead) or bigger investments (Wonder Woman 1984) remains to be seen.


July closes out this Friday with three new wide-releases: Jungle Cruise (also on Disney Plus Premier), The Green Knight, and Stillwater.

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