The U.S. box office has been kind of slow and messy all year, with huge general upticks followed by downturns that occasionally bounce back up, and it’s all based on the combination of what movies are out, whether those movies are available on streaming (but there’s been no hard data on how that impacts a movie’s box office take), how bad things are going with the delta variant, and also all the general things that impact the summer box office like the appeal of going outside and the appeal of… staying inside. So it’s been a while since we checked in on how things are going at the U.S. box office, because there’s only so much you can say about it.
That’s not the case today, though, because there is some actual news coming out of the domestic box office for the first time in a long time: With its $22 million opening, nearly double that of second-place finisher Free Guy, Nia DaCosta’s new Candyman movie has become the first film directed by a Black woman in the entire history of the U.S. film industry to open at the top of the box office. Here’s that again, just to underline it: The first ever. Candyman’s $22 million is also the second-highest opening weekend gross at the U.S. box office for a movie directed by a Black woman, with the highest being Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Time a few years ago (it came in second at $33 million in its opening weekend, losing out to Black Panther in its fourth week).
The rest of the box office charts this past weekend aren’t especially noteworthy, though Jungle Cruise did just cross $100 million (it’s now getting a sequel). HBO Max’s two most recent simultaneous releases, The Suicide Squad and Reminiscence, aren’t doing as well, sitting at $52 million and just $3 million (respectively). Then there’s the aforementioned Free Guy, which is on pace to break $100 million unless it falls off of a cliff (it’s sitting at $79 million). Also, Cruella is now free on Disney+, but it still made $47,000 in theaters. Moviegoers are sometimes weird.