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‘Candyman’ slashes way toward No. 1 box office spot

A man with a prosthetic hand in the movie "Candyman."
Michael Hargrove in the movie “Candyman,” directed by Nia DaCosta.
(Universal Pictures and MGM Pictures /Associated Press)

“Candyman” hooked the top spot at the North American box office.

The Universal Pictures film starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II impressively pulled in more than $22.3 million through a quiet weekend despite concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The R-rated horror movie, co-written by Jordan Peele and directed by Nia DaCosta, delves into an urban legend that believes if someone repeats “Candyman” five times in front of a mirror, that person would summon the hook-handed killer.

The sequel is a follow-up to the original “Candyman,” released in 1992. The new film expects to gross $5.23 million in 51 international markets.

“It was a quiet weekend, but it was another check mark in the success column for horror,” Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore.

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“Candyman” claimed No. 1 over second place “Free Guy,” which scored first place at the box office the previous two weekends. The action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds as a background character in a video game, earned more than $13.5 million.

In approaching a follow-up to the 1992 horror cult classic, the “Candyman” team chose what to keep, what to lose and what to make more 21st Century.

After “Free Guy,” the numbers begin to substantially drop.

Dergarabedian said consumers are being very selective in what they do outside of their homes, particularly when it comes to heading into theaters.

“When you have brand new movies, if they are of a genre that people love like horror or have stars like Ryan Reynolds and a movie that’s perceived to be great, people want to go out to see them,” he said. “The other films that are either available on streaming and/or not getting the greatest buzz or reviews are going to drop by the wayside. It’s just the nature of this marketplace.”

In third place, “PAW Patrol” reeled in $6.6 million — a 50% dip from the film’s opening weekend number. The Paramount film, based on the popular kids TV show, has garnered more than $24 million.

“Jungle Cruise” placed fourth with $5 million, helping the Disney action-adventure film starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt eclipse the $100-million mark in North America during a five-week span.

“Don’t Breathe 2” earned $2.8 million, “Respect” starring Jennifer Hudson brought in $2.2 million and “The Suicide Squad” tallied just over $2 million.

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Meanwhile, “The Protege” with Michael Keaton and Maggie Q pulled in $1.6 million and “The Night House” had $1.2 million.

“Black Widow” barely held onto the 10th spot with $855,000. In eight weeks, the Marvel film starring Scarlett Johansson has accumulated more than $181.5 million in North America.

Dergarabedian believes the box office could experience some growing pains in the coming weeks.

“You’re going to have a very top-heavy box office and particularly for films that are available on streaming,” he said. “If they’re not totally buzzworthy, then people will just stay at home and check them out there.

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“If those movies at the top are generating great word of mouth and goodwill with audiences toward going to the movie theater, that’s good for the business long term,” Dergarabedian said.


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