September 26, 2021

Behind The US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 9.26.2021


OPENINGS:  DEAR EVAN HANSEN (Universal) clunked badly with a $7.5M debut, following on the heels of the underperforming In the Heights and underlining that while musicals can score at the box office, they remain a risky genre.  Even with a relatively low production cost and limited marketing, it’s hard to see any path to profit here.

THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (Searchlight/Disney) didn’t open strongly in limited release last week, and it stumbled badly as it shifted to wide release, tripling its theatre count yet still dropping 5% to $600K.  At this point the only real question is whether in this odd period the low box office will hurt the awards chances for Jessica Chastain and others, or whether ticket sales are no longer relevant to that equation.

DUNE (Legendary/Warners) is still a month away from its US theatrical/HBO Max premiere, but it’s already in its 2nd week overseas, where it’s reached $76.5M after a $26.3M weekend in 32 territories.  Dune will reach China simultaneously with its US opening.

HOLDOVERS:  Give a Marvel movie a solid month with no meaningful competition, and a box office record is likely to follow.  SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE 10 RINGS (Marvel/Disney) dipped 39% to $13.3M in its 4th weekend, and that pushed its US total to $196.5M, moving past stablemate Black Widow (which faced major competition from its 2nd week of release) to become the highest-grossing pandemic-era title in this market.  Note, however, that while it’s at $167M overseas after a $14M weekend in 44 markets, that’s dwarfed by the $543.6M international total for F9 (partly due to the fact that F9 earned $203.9M in China, where Shang-Chi may never open), and the Marvel film is at barely over half of F9‘s $716.6M worldwide total.

FREE GUY (20th/Disney) continues to hold extremely well, down just 19% to $4.1M in its 7th weekend as it heads toward $130M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $203.3M after a $5.1M weekend in 48 territories, and like F9 it benefited from a China run that contributed $94.8M of that total.

CANDYMAN (Universal, also on VOD) dropped 29% to $2.5M in its 5th weekend, and should reach $65M in the US.  It has $14.8M overseas.

CRY MACHO (Warners, also on HBO Max) followed its low opening with a bad hold, down 52% to $2.1M and unlikely to pass $15M in the US.  It’s had limited overseas release thus far and is below $1M.

JUNGLE CRUISE (Disney) continues to sell tickets in its 9th week, down a mere 17% to $1.7M and likely to reach $120M in the US, with an additional $92.9M overseas (and no China release to date).

MALIGNANT (Warners, also on HBO Max) fell 45% to $1.5M in its 3rd weekend and probably won’t see $20M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $17.4M.

In its 2nd weekend, COPSHOP (Open Road) lost 45% to $1.3M and isn’t likely to reach $10M in the US, with under $1M overseas at this point.

PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE (Nickelodeon/Paramount, also on Paramount+) dipped 35% to $1.1M in its 6th weekend, and should pass $40M in the US, with $66.1M overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The Indian-language LOVE STORY (Sony Home Entertainment) found its target audience with $970K in just 300 theatres.  I’M YOUR MAN (Bleecker Street) had a weak start with a $2100 per-theatre weekend average in 16 arthouses.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Shang-Chi‘s streak is likely to come to an end with the arrival of VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (Marvel/Columbia/Sony), which kicks off several successive weeks of potential blockbusters.  In addition, there are two major hybrid releases, Sopranos prequel THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK (Warners, also on HBO Max) and ADDAMS FAMILY 2 (MGM, also on VOD).  Cannes festival winner TITANE (Neon) opens in limited release.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."