Box Office: GOOD BOYS overcomes the August doldrums while other movies flop

Welcome to the Beat’s weekly Weekend Box Office Recap!

If you look at this weekend’s box office and think things can’t get worse, just you wait! It’s August, and the summer is winding down with many people choosing to go away rather than go to the movies, despite the latest heat wave that’s hitting the country.

Out of the five new wide releases this weekend, only one pulled out a surprise victory by doing better than expected, and that was Universal’s Good Boys, starring Jacob TremblayKeith L. Williams and Brady Noon. Produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the R-rated comedy about a group of six graders who ditch school to prepare for a “kissing party,” scored an impressive $21 million (estimated) in its opening weekend in 3,204 theaters, an average of $6,554 per venue.

Good Boys came into the weekend with solid reviews after premiering way back in March at the SXSW FilM Festival and took the top spot at the box office after making $2.3 million in Thursday previews. That $21 million opening not only surpasses the film’s tracking earlier in the week but also many of the low-ball predictions including my own, although I did predict it would do better than the tracking. The movie also received a respectable “B+” from audiences via CinemaScore‘s polling system.

Universal’s other August release, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, dropped to second place with $14.1 million, down 44% from last weekend. It has grossed $133.7 million in North America, which isn’t great for a franchise that has regularly brought in over $200 million domestically. It’s faring slightly better overseas where it has grossed $303 million, but we’ll have to see if Universal wants to continue pushing this spin-off into its own franchise.

Disney’s The Lion King continued to be king at the box office, as it remained in third place, edging closer to $500 million with $11.9 million this weekend. Once the movie hits $500 million sometime this week, it will be the studio’s tenth movie to cross that benchmark and the second one this year. The $939 million the Jon Favreau-directed adaptation has made overseas, including the $33 million this weekend, puts the movie on a path to $1.5 billion worldwide, making it one of the year’s bigger hits after just five weeks in theaters.

Sony’s animated sequel The Angry Birds Movie 2 was not expected to do as well as its 2016 predecessor, but most thought it would do better than it did this weekend, rather than succumbing to the “sequelitis” that has caused such a moviegoing malais this summer. Oddly, Sony decided to release the movie on Tuesday where it grossed just $2.6 million, before it added another $3.1 million before the weekend proper. Friday slightly surpassed its opening day with $2.7 million, but it wound up making just $10.5 million over the three-day weekend, ending its 6-day opening week with an atrocious $16.3 million. By comparison, the original movie made $38.1 million opening weekend on its way to $107.5 million. The sequel might have trouble making that opening number in total unless word-of-mouth and a lack of upcoming family films gives it legs. Like Good Boys, it also received a “B+” CinemaScore, so that’s good news at least.

CBS Films’ Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark dropped to fifth place with $10 million, down 52%, which was about what was expected, but its $40.2 million domestic gross so far is pretty good for the $25 million film with no significant name stars.

Entertainment Studios hadn’t released a movie nationwide since January’s Replicas, but the studio probably had high expectations for the shark thriller 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, considering it was the sequel to the fledgling studio’s biggest hit to date. Opening in 2,853 theaters, director Johannes Roberts‘ follow-up made $9 million or $3,155 per theater after making just $516,000 in previews. That was lower than expected considering that the original movie opened with $11.2 million in a similarly busy weekend in 2017. For whatever reason, Entertainment Studios really didn’t do much to promote the movie, so Universal’s efforts with Good Boy probably made that a better choice for older teen movigoers.

Paramount’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold dropped to seventh place with $8.5 million, down 51% in its second weekend, with $33.9 million grossed so far. That isn’t good for a movie that Paramount hoped to turn into a franchise.

On the other hand, Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood continues to find an audience with a lot of repeat viewings happening. The Brad Pitt-Leonard DiCaprio starrer took eighth place this weekend with $7.6 million, down just 35% despite losing 1,000 theaters. It has grossed $114.3 million in North America but has yet to roll out too dramatically overseas. Right now, it’s looking to surpass the $120.5 million of Tarantino’s 2009 hit Inglourious Basterds to become the filmmaker’s second highest-grossing film.

New Line and Warner Bros. took another gamble this weekend with Gurinder Chadha‘s Blinded by the Light, a crowd-pleasing ode to rocker Bruce Springsteen that the studio picked up after it received audience and critical raves at the Sundance Film Festival. Opening the movie in 2,307 theaters, the studio hoped for the best and wound up below expectations with $4.4 million or $1,929 per venue, which is pretty awful. Its “A-” CinemaScore does seem to point to solid word-of-mouth, but how much more can it do with such a weak opening? The $71 million made by Universal’s Yesterday, another British music-based movie starring a newcomer, might have given this movie higher hopes, but it was released in mid-August into fewer theaters.

Fox’s The Art of Racing in the Rain managed to keep a hold on the top 10 by dropping to tenth with $4.4 million (down 46%) and $16.9 million grossed so far.

Richard Linklater‘s new comedy Where’d You Go, Bernadette, starring Cate Blanchett, failed to find much of an audience with other, stronger choices. It opened with an estimated  $3.5 million in 2,404 theaters ($1,438 per venue) but ended up in eleventh place. This might be a last gasp for the newly-formed U.A. Releasing who are desperately in need of a hit to help fund the currently-filming James Bond movie planned for next year.

Just outside the top 10, FIP’s Bollywood film Mission Mangal, based on the amazing Indian women involved in the country’s space program, scored $1.3 million in 263 theaters for 16th place, averaging $4,962 per theater, a better average than all but Good Boys above it.

The Sony Pictures Classics doc Aquarela made $23,474 in five New York and L.A theaters, averaging $4,695 per venue.

This Week’s Top 10: 

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 New Good Boys Universal $21 million N/A $21 million
2 1 Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw Universal $14.1 million -44% $133.7 million
3 3 The Lion King Disney $11.90 milion -41% $496.1 million
4 New The Angry Birds Movie 2 Sony $10.5 million N/A $16.2 million
5 2 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark CBS Films $10 million -52% $40.2 million
6 New 47 Meters Down: Uncaged Entertainment Studios $9 million N/A $9 million
7 4 Dora and the Lost City of Gold Paramount $8.5 million -51% $33.9 million
8 5 Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood Sony $7.6 million -35%
$114.3 million
9 New Blinded by the Light New Line/WB $4.5 million N/A $4.5 million
10 6 The Art of Racing in the Rain 20th Century Fox $4.4 million  -46% $16.9 million
11 New Where’d You Go, Bernadette U.A. Releasing $3.5 million  N/A $3.5 million

This weekend’s box office was slightly lower than this weekend last year when New Line’s Crazy Rich Asians dominated with $26.5 million while Mark Wahlberg‘s action-thriller Mile 22, faltered with just $13.7 million to take third place behind Jason Statham‘s The Meg in its second weekend. The third new movie of the week, Sony’s Alpha, opened with $10.3 million in fifth place, and the top 10 grossed about $10 million more last year than this weekend’s offerings.

Check back Wednesday for The Beat‘s weekly Box Office Preview where I look at the box office prospects for Gerard Butler‘s action sequel Angel Has Fallen, the snarky horror-comedy Ready or Not and the faith-based Overcomer.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Only movie I really want to see is the one we can’t see: The Hunt.

    At least we can still see the movie that inspired it, 1932’s The Most Dangerous Game (and read the 1924 short story). And this weekend we can see yet another movie that “borrows” this material, Ready Or Not.

  2. Comment from film critic/historian Mark Harris:

    Top 10 grossers of 2019 so far:
    1. Comic book adaptation
    2. Remake of animated movie
    3. Comic book adaptation
    4. Animated movie, part 4
    5. Comic book adaptation
    6. Remake of animated movie
    7. “Us”
    8. Action movie, part 3
    9. Animated movie, part 3
    10. Animated movie, part 2

    And:

    “This is the narrowest range of movies that has ever dominated the box-office–and the MOST that the top 10 has ever dominated the box office. …

    “After Disney bought Fox, it could’ve said, “Fox is going to be our new brand for originals.” Instead, as a recent Variety story made clear, Disney cares about the studio only as a source of–you guessed it–preexisting intellectual property.”

  3. It beat the sequel to a cartoon, . . . in August. Big whoop; the film is severely cringe-worthy. And at a time when box-office grosses have fallen off a cliff.

  4. “And at a time when box-office grosses have fallen off a cliff.”

    Unless you’re Disney, for whom business has never been better.

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