free guy

Source: 20th Century Studios

‘Free Guy’

The Ryan Reynolds-led Free Guy looks to be the likeliest contender this weekend to break into a UK-Ireland box office top five that has been static for the past two sessions, with The Suicide Squad in the number one spot, followed by Jungle Cruise in second place. 

Disney is releasing Free Guy, directed by Shawn Levy and also starring Jodie Comer and Taika Waititi, in 625 locations. Reynolds plays a background character in a video game he does not even realise he is living in, who finally takes centre stage in his own life.

Reynolds’ The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard opened to £1.031m from 521 locations for Lionsgate back in June.

Pre-pandemic, opening weekends for action-comedies starring Reynolds include £13.7m in 2016 for Deadpool; £1.98m in 2017 for The Hitman’s Bodyguard; and £12.9m in 2018 for Deadpool 2 (all including previews).

Another new opener with a big-name lead star is Lionsgate’s The Courier, released in 440 locations, based on a true story and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as an unassuming businessman who helped MI6 infiltrate the Soviet nuclear war programme during the Cold War. Cumberbatch’s last major theatrical release was the Bafta award-winning 1917 in 2019, which took £7.3m in its opening weekend and spent four weeks at the top spot.

After its prize-winning debut at Sundance Film Festival and its recent win of the first ever Sundance London BIFA award, Siân Heder’s CODA receives its theatrical release this weekend, alongside an Apple TV+ release. Apple has not confirmed the number of locations. CODA (an acronym for ’Child of Deaf Adults’) stars Emilia Jones as Ruby, the only hearing person in her deaf family, who is torn between pursuing her love of music and her responsibilities towards her parents.

Hoping to capitalise on the school summer holidays, Paramount’s Paw Patrol: The Movie will open in 578 locations. 

Sony is releasing Don’t Breathe 2, the sequel to the 2016 low-budget horror hit, in 400 locations. It picks up with the blind veteran turned killing machine (Stephen Lang) in the years after the first film, now with a daughter by his side (Madelyn Grace). 

Vertigo Films will conduct a 15-location day-and-date release for Minamata. Johnny Depp plays a real-life American photographer on a mission to Japan who ends up exposing a horrific case of industrial pollution. The film’s director Andrew Levitas accused US distributor MGM of “burying” the movie, following the controversy surrounding Depp and accusations of domestic violence against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Curzon’s I’m Your Man – a satire directed by Maria Schrader, who has previously worked on Netflix’s Unorthodox and the Deutschland series – looks at what happens when a woman falls for an android. It will open in 26 locations. Also opening in 26 locations is Zee Studios’ Punjabi-language romantic comedy Puaada.

Picturehouse’s gritty family drama Wildland opens in 32 locations, while Mexico City set dystopian thriller New Order, released by Mubi, will open in six. The latter is directed by Michel Franco and premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2020.

Wendy, a reworking of Peter Pan and the long-awaited follow-up to Benh Zeitlin’s Oscar-nominated Beasts Of The Southern Wild, opens in 12 locations for Elysian Film Group.

Munro Film Service’s Escher: Journey Into Infinity – a documentary narrated by Stephen Fry about Dutch illustrator MC Escher – will be showing in six locations over the opening weekend, however that total will go up to 20 including mid-week showings.

Key holdovers from last weekend include the current top five: Warner Bros’ The Suicide Squad; Disney’s Jungle Cruise; Warner Bros’ Space Jam: A New Legacy; Universal’s The Croods 2: A New Age; and Disney’s Black Widow, plus last week’s openers including eOne’s Stillwater and Studiocanal’s The Last Letter From Your Lover.