We’re not going to go over every single movie released in 2021. However, we are going to take a look at some of the biggest winners, overall, just to give a sense of what worked and, in a larger sense, try to figure out why it worked, regardless of the release strategy. Defining a winner is simple; did the movie, relative to its budget and other associated costs, make money? Let’s have a look at some examples.
Let’s start with “F9,” aka “Fast and Furious 9.” Universal’s latest entry in its Fast Saga earned $173 million domestic and $543.5 million internationally for a total of $716.5 million worldwide. It was released exclusively in theaters and, as it stands, is the second-biggest movie of the year, beyond only China’s monster blockbuster “Hi, Mom” ($822 million).
Next, we have “Godzilla vs. Kong.” Released both in theaters and on HBO Max in the U.S. on the same day, it made $100.5 million domestic and $367.3 million overseas. That $467.8 million total is far better than 2019’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” ($386.6 million). Which, it’s worth pointing out, was not contending with a global pandemic. A win without question.
The Marvel brand is strong. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” proved that, taking in $386.9 million to date with an exclusive theatrical release. It shattered the record for a Labor Day weekend opening and is poised to pass $400 million worldwide, without a release in China. Not bad for a movie based on a character few people in the mainstream had heard of previously.
In a win for original properties, Ryan Reynolds’ “Free Guy” has earned $321 million globally, working from a reasonable (relatively speaking) $100 million budget. Disney is already working on a sequel, signaling that the returns are good. Again, this was an exclusive theatrical release, and one that the Mouse House inherited as part of its huge buyout of Fox.
Lastly, we just want to say that horror wins here. No matter what, seemingly. “A Quiet Place Part II,” released exclusively in theaters, earned $297.3 million worldwide, besting the original. “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” released both in theaters and on HBO Max, made $201.9 million worldwide. “The Forever Purge,” exclusively released in theaters, grossed $76 million worldwide from a relatively tiny budget, all but ensures the franchise will live on for a sixth entry. “Candyman,” “Don’t Breathe 2,” and “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” also did relatively well. Horror is the backbone of Hollywood. It is now and has almost always been true.
This content was originally published here.