The Quorum

FREE GUY proves that theatrical is still relevant.

If there was any question about the health of theatrical, one need look no further than FREE GUY.

If there was any question about whether day-and-date erodes theatrical, one need look no further than FREE GUY.

With $28M, FREE – an original IP – opened bigger than well-known entities, including THE SUICIDE SQUAD ($26M), THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT ($24M) and CRUELLA ($21M). Not only are all three of these based on familiar IP, but they all opened day-and-date.

For those rooting for theatrical, this was an enormous win.

Already there are signs that FREE may hold well. First, the film dropped a slim 2% from Friday to Saturday. By comparison, BLACK WIDOW fell 40%. That alone speaks to positive word-of-mouth.

On top of that, we’re about to enter a very soft period. The box office slows down around Labor Day as vacations end, and kids go back to school. Studios don’t put their heavy hitters in late August.

Need proof? Next week, we get PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, REMINISCENCE, THE NIGHT HOUSE and THE PROTEGE. As you can see above, awareness is low for all four.

PAW may have a somewhat decent awareness above 30, but when it comes to interest (below), it ranks 79th out of the 79 films tracked by The Quorum.

In other words, none of these looks like a big threat to FREE.

What should we look for next week? It would be amazing if FREE fell less than 40% in week two. It wouldn’t surprise us if it held considerably better than that.

Having said that, the fact that there are four new releases won’t help. None of the four look to do big business, but each will peel off a piece of the box office. PAW will attract some families and THE NIGHT HOUSE will pull in horror fans, while it’s unclear who the audience is for REMINISCENCE or THE PROTEGE. In other words, the sheer volume of new releases may push down the week two numbers for FREE.

If FREE holds well and shows significant playability, it will go a long way toward convincing studios that well-made, non-Marvel, non-DC, non-tentpole films can thrive in theaters.

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