“Black Widow” Delivers Biggest Opening Since 2019


July 9-11, 2021

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)


Black Widow $80 million
F9: The Fast Saga  $10.8 million
The Boss Baby:
Family Business
$8.7 million
The Forever Purge $6.7 million
A Quiet Place Part II  $3 million

It's been 16 months since we last published a box office report. The weekend of March 6-8, 2020, was the last time all theaters were open before lockdown began. Most theaters have re-opened, though some locations are still dark, and some are only offering limited tickets at each screening. But the summer movie season seems to be back for real.

Black Widow debuted with an estimated $80 million at the domestic box office. Disney is also reporting an additional $60 million from viewers who opted to order the film on Disney+ through their Premier Access portal for $29.99. That's a strong showing, especially for a movie that was delayed multiple times and features a character who died in Avengers: Endgame. That puts it in the same ballpark as Ant-Man and the Wasp and Doctor Strange, but well below Captain Marvel. It will be interesting to see if Disney continues to offer releases through Premier Access after Jungle Cruise, which opens July 30. In an effort to brag, they may have painted themselves into a corner, as the expectation will be to release the home purchase revenue as well. Keeping the numbers private as they've done in the past might fuel speculation.

F9, the latest chapter in the Fast Saga, dropped to second place. Right now, it should pass the original film, and possibly the fourth entry. But it's unlikely to make more than spin-off Hobbs & Shaw and won't sniff $200 million. But it's already made more than half a billion dollars worldwide. The Boss Baby sequel Family Business slipped to third, and it's the equivalent of a stinky diaper compared to the first film. It hasn't even crossed $35 million yet, which is far less than the $50 million the original opened with. Still, there's no telling how much it being free to Peacock subscribers cut into that. The Forever Purge proved it was smart for Universal to end the franchise. It has yet to crack $30 million despite being the most expensive in the series. A Quiet Place Part II rounded out the top five. It's easily the biggest movie so far this year, with a healthy $150 million.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Summertime, the follow-up from Blindspotting director Carlos López Estrada. Playing on just two screens, this L.A.-set dramedy averaged $10,000.
  • Zola may have been based on a popular Twitter thread, but it's not proving a big draw for a movie that opened on nearly 1,500 screens. The much-hyped A24 release has earned just $3.5 million to date.
  • The only film to see an increase over last weekend was I Carry You with Me, the gay romantic drama from Mexico. Adding 33 more screens, it got a 46.7% bump.

Next weekend:

Two sequels no one was exactly clamoring for. Space Jam: A New Legacy and Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. Both will be fighting for second place. The former should open with around $30 million and the latter with just $10 million.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.