'Free Guy' tops North American box office again

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In this file photo Ryan Reynolds attends the "Free Guy" New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on August 3, 2021 in New York City

Twentieth Century’s sci-fi comedy “Free Guy” slipped but did not trip on Sunday as it clung to the top spot in North American movie theaters with an estimated take of $18.8 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported.

The film, its release delayed a year by the Covid-19 pandemic, is a lighthearted yarn starring Ryan Reynolds as an Everyman bank teller who finds –- not unlike Jim Carrey’s character in “The Truman Show” -- that he is a character in a huge video game and must save his friends from being deleted.

Family-friendly "Free Guy" was slightly off from its $28 million opening weekend, but analysts said its result was impressive with Covid-19 still hanging over the industry and Tropical Storm Henri deterring moviegoers in the US Northeast. It has a healthy global take so far of $112 million.

In second position, earning $13 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period, was new Paramount release "Paw Patrol: The Movie." That was a respectable total, said Variety.com, for a film aimed at young kids –- who remain ineligible for Covid vaccines. "Paw Patrol" tells the story of a boy named Ryder and the brave pups who help him save Adventure City from a colossally evil mayor.

Third spot went to Disney’s family adventure film "Jungle Cruise," at $6.2 million. Its plot -– well, suffice it to say it is based on a theme-park ride.

Horror feature "Don't Breathe 2," from Sony, followed with a $5.1 million take in its second weekend. Starring Stephen Lang –- who has what website Rotten Tomatoes calls a “thrillingly imposing presence” -- it revolves around a game of mass murder perpetuated by a blind veteran.

And in fifth place was United Artists’ biopic "Respect," at $3.8 million. Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson stars as queen of soul Aretha Franklin –- who reportedly picked Hudson for the role. The Washington Post calls her portrayal a "kind of creative -- even spiritual -- mind-meld that sends a chill down the spine and a catch to the throat.”

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“The Suicide Squad” ($3.4 million)

“The Protégé” ($2.9 million)

“The Night House” ($2.9 million)

“Reminiscence” ($2 million)

“Black Widow” ($1.2 million)

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