Will Disney’s ‘Free Guy’ See Box Office Boost From Exclusive Theater Debut?

MGM’s ”Respect“ and Sony’s ”Don’t Breathe 2“ will also be released only in theaters

After weeks of franchise films with hybrid theater-streaming releases arriving at the box office, this weekend sees not one but three movies that will only be available in theaters, including 20th Century Studios’ “Free Guy.”

The Ryan Reynolds action comedy, which will debut along with MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” and Sony’s horror sequel “Don’t Breathe 2,” will test how movies without a major IP attached perform without streaming pulling away interested viewers but with COVID-19’s Delta variant continuing to spread nationwide.

“Free Guy” is currently projected for the No. 1 spot with a $15-17 million opening from 4,100 theaters. The action comedy was originally greenlit by 20th Century Fox and inherited by Disney after it acquired the studio two years ago.

Even before the pandemic, comedies that became hits at the box office in the latter half of the 2010s were few and far between. The good news for “Free Guy” is that critics have been positive about the film, giving it an 86% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com • Twitter: @jeremyfuster