With ‘Free Guy’ and ‘Jungle Cruise,’ Disney Is Winning Both Sides of the Debate Over Hybrid Film Releases

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While Ryan Reynolds’ film was the toast of CinemaCon, Dwayne Johnson’s adventure tale has reached $100 million despite its premium release on Disney+

ryan reynolds free guy dwayne johnson emily blunt jungle cruise
Photo credit: 20th Century Studios/Disney

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20th Century Studios’ “Free Guy” was the toast of CinemaCon last week, praised by theater owners as an argument against the day-and-date release strategies tested by Disney, the film’s distributor, which released the Ryan Reynolds action comedy exclusively in theaters. But the surprise box office legs of “Jungle Cruise,” one of those films available as a premium Disney+ title, shows that Disney is winning on both sides of the theatrical exclusivity debate.

Though the numbers have been watered down by the still-rebuilding nature of the domestic box office, “Free Guy” has performed like a hit from a bygone era: an original comedy that has used star power and strong word of mouth to endure on the charts.


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