As summer winds down, Candyman raised the banner for the horror genre and was the movie that toppled the high-performing Free Guy from its number one position in the domestic box office race.

The sequel to the 1992 hit, directed by Nia DaCosta who co-wrote the screenplay with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, collected $22.3 million. Candyman is reportedly the first number one box office film from a Black woman filmmaker.

With its marketing strategy capitalizing on Peele’s horror record with such films as Us and Get OutCandyman invigorated the franchise that began with the movie starring Virginia Madsen and Vanessa E. Williams. The latest installment features Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.

Despite falling to second place, Free Guy managed an impressive $13.56 million at the turnstiles. On its third weekend, the Ryan Reynolds action/comedy/sci-fi, directed by Shawn Levy and also top-billed by Jodie Comer and Taika Waititi, has amassed total domestic earnings so far of $79.3 million.

These two films’ success allayed the movie industry’s fears that the box office attendance will dip again due to the rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.

Director Cal Brunker’s surprise international and North American animated hit, PAW Patrol: The Movie, took the third berth with $6.63 million. Voiced by Tyler Perry, Randall Park, Jimmy Kimmel, Dax Shepard, Ron Pardo and Will Brisbin, the film could trigger an animated franchise.

Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise and Rodo Sayagues’ Don’t Breathe 2 hung on to the top five with $5.02 million and $2.84 million, respectively.

Rounding out the rest of the box office holdovers were, in order: Liesl Tommy’s Respect ($2.27 million), James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad ($2.04 million), Martin Campbell’s The Protégé ($1.65 million), David Bruckner’s The Night House ($1.22 million) and Cate Shortland’s Black Widow ($855,000).

Hugh Jackman’s Reminiscence dropped out of the top 10 after only one week.

Internationally, Free Guy conquered China and emerged number one, a splashy debut as the first Hollywood movie to be released there after a couple of months. The video game-inspired film ended the reign of local flicks in the world’s biggest film market with a strong $23.9 million tally.

PAW Patrol: The Movie grabbed the second slot in the overseas chart action with $10.3 million. Released earlier in foreign markets, the Canadian animated movie based on the popular TV series has been performing impressively since its overseas debut.

Candyman also opened solidly abroad, with $5.23 million.

Vin Diesel’s F9 officially hit the $700 million international mark and became the first and only Hollywood title to achieve that milestone since 2020.

While The Suicide Squad did not perform well domestically, the DC universe production is doing better overseas where it recently crossed $100 million.

In the streaming race, Sue Tenney’s Virgin River dominated Nielsen’s top 10 chart. The Netflix romance-drama, adapted from Robyn Carr’s novels, stars Alexandra Breckenridge, Martin Henderson and Colin Lawrence.

Netflix ruled the rest of the list of the top-streamed shows for the week of July 19 to 25. These shows are, in order, on Netflix, except as indicated: Never Have I EverAtypicalLoki (Disney+), HeistLuciferBosch (Amazon), Sex/LifeThe Cook of Castamar and The Movies That Made Us.

Walter Nicoletti
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