Following the disappointing debuts of both In the Heights and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway last weekend, the North American box office remained rather subdued this frame with the release of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which narrowly secured the No. 1 spot at the box office with an estimated $11.68M over the three-day period from 3,331 locations and $17.02M since opening on Tuesday night (an amount that also includes grosses from sneak previews that took place last Friday and Saturday).
While encouraging relative to the box office lows of the pandemic, it’s nonetheless a modest launch that falls short of previous bursts of energy in the domestic market from films like Godzilla vs. Kong, A Quiet Place Part II and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard — a sequel to the sleeper hit 2017 action film The Hitman’s Bodyguard starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson – had something of an advantage in that it’s the only major studio film currently in release that caters specifically to older males, though it still fell short of its predecessor’s $21.4M bow. The caveat, of course, is that capacity restrictions remain in place at theaters around the country, and some cinemas in North America – albeit a small percentage – are still shuttered due to the ongoing pandemic. Fifty-five percent of the opening weekend audience for the film was male, while 66% was over the age of 25.
The Lionsgate release, which was originally slated for release in 2020, may have been dinged by its low Rotten Tomatoes score. Indeed, with a critical average of just 25%, it’s one of the worst-rated studio releases of the year to date – and that may have turned off audiences who were already on the fence about seeing it. Not helping matters is the release next weekend of the highly-anticipated F9, another male-targeted action sequel could steal away much of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’s audience and considerably cut into its earning potential.