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Ryan Reynolds May Have a New Movie Franchise

'Free Guy' exceeds expectations, and Disney already wants a sequel
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2021 10:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ryan Reynolds may have another movie franchise on his hands in addition to Deadpool. Not only did his new flick, Free Guy, do better than expected at the box office over the weekend, but Reynolds announced that Disney already wants a sequel. Free Guy, a sci-fi action comedy that takes place within a video game, pulled in $28 million in North American theaters over the weekend, exceeding estimates of $20 million, reports the AP. The Hollywood Reporter suggests that one possible reason the numbers were so strong is that Disney decided to release the film exclusively to theaters for its debut, instead of simultaneously streaming it. (Scarlett Johansson recently sued Disney over its decision to stream her Black Widow on Disney+ as it released the film to theaters.)

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While video-game movies often struggle at the box office, Reynolds' star power is credited with lifting this one, per Variety. It went into the weekend with strong word-of-mouth and solid reviews—82% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and 95% from fans. In a surprise, its debut surpassed that of the much-hyped The Suicide Squad ($26 million) last weekend. Despite the surprise strong weekend, however, the coverage notes that Hollywood in general remains in tough financial straits because of the pandemic. “Moviegoing has shown flashes of strength during the summer, but the delta variant has dampened any sustained improvement above 50%,” David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research tells Variety. "In a healthy market, movies would be opening considerably higher and holding better." (Read more Ryan Reynolds stories.)

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