Box Office: SCARY STORIES soars, DORA disappoints and THE KITCHEN is kaput

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!

Whereas the last few weekends only offered a single wide release, this weekend (as with next), there was a slew of new releases, all competing for the same moviegoer dollars.

Maybe it shouldn’t have been too surprising that Universal’s Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw won its second weekend in a row with $25.4 million, since few of the new movies seemed strong enough to best it. Personally, I thought the popularity of Dora the Explorer would help push Paramount and Nickelodeon Films’ Dora and the Lost City of Gold over the top, but it didn’t even wind up in second place.

Hobbs and Shaw‘s second weekend at #1 puts it at $108.5 million domestic, which isn’t great for a franchise that tends to make $200 million or more in North America. Fortunately for Universal, it’s doubled that amount overseas with $224 million including $60.8 million this weekend as it opened in France with $6.9 million. Hobbs and Shaw has yet to open in China, so right now, the UK has the highest gross for the spin-off outside North America.

The most pleasant surprise of the weekend was seeing CBS Films’ Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, directed by André Øvredal and produced by Guillermo del Toro, opening strongly in second place with $20.8 million, about $7 million more than my prediction earlier in the week. Featuring a fairly young no-name cast, the adaptation of Alvin Schwartz‘s popular young adult series took in $2.3 million from Thursday previews before its nationwide release into 3,135 theaters Friday. It was #1 its opening day with $8.8 million (bearing in mind that $2.3 million of that came from Thursday previews), which helped the movie take second place for the weekend.

Although I liked the movie a lot, I was rightfully dubious that CBS Films could have another horror hit, being that it had been seven years since CBS’ last one with The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, which opened with roughly the same amount. This is one time I’m glad to have been wrong. Although reviews were solid, Scary Stories received a “C” CinemaScore, which means that audiences did not get what they were expecting, although it’s rather rare for horror films to score high with the audience polling system.

Disney’s The Lion King continues to motor along with another $20 million as it took third place this weekend behind Scary Stories, down 48% from last weekend. The Jon Favreau-directed “live action” remake (actually mostly CG) has grossed $473 million in North America alone, making it the second biggest release for 2019. Overseas, it added another $51.4 million including $9.3 million from its Japan debut to bring its international total to $861.5 million and $1.3 billion globally.

That brings us to Dora and the Lost City of Gold in fourth place with an estimated $17 million in 3,735 theaters or $4,552 per theater. Not really sure what happened there as Dora the Explorer has been hugely popular as an animated television series, and it was a rare Hollywood movie with a mostly non-white cast, starring Isabel Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight) as Dora and Michael PeñaEva LongoriaEugenio Derbez and Jeff Wahlberg as Dora’s friends and family, as well as voice work from Danny Trejo and Benicio del Toro. That’s pretty disappointing for what was expected to be a potential tentpole franchise for Paramount. Even stranger is that Dora received decent reviews overall and an “A” CinemaScore, so those who went to see the movie seemed to like it, so maybe it can hold up well over the late summer.

Quentin Tarantino‘s period piece Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, starring Leonardo DiCaprioBrad Pitt and Margot Robbie, continued to do well as it crossed the $100 million mark over the weekend, Tarantino’s fourth movie to achieve that landmark. The nearly three-hour movie took in $11.6 million in its third weekend to take fifth place, down just 42% from last weekend.

20th Century Fox’s adaptation of the book The Art of Racing in the Rain — not such a mouthful of a title when compared to a few of the movies above — wasn’t expected to do huge business, so its estimated $8.1 million for the weekend in 2,765 theaters was about what was expected. Starring Milo Ventimiglia (from NBC’s This is Us), Amanda Seyfried and the voice of Kevin Costner as a dog, the movie took sixth place, averaging just under $3,000 per theater.

The real shocker for the weekend is how poorly New Line’s adaptation of the Vertigo Comics crime-thriller The Kitchen did, considering the prestige of its trio of name stars: Melissa McCarthyTiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss. The female-driven twist on mobster movies directed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton) made an estimated $5.5 million over the weekend in 2,745 theaters after skipping Thursday previews altogether.  Averaging just over $2,000 per theater, that’s likely to be one of Warner Bros’ biggest write-offs of the year.

Sony’s Spider-Man: Far from Home and Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 4 followed in eighth and ninth place with $5.3 and $4.4 million respectively. We’ll have to see if Far from Home ekes out another $400 million domestically before Labor Day with so little strong releases in the weeks to come.

Lulu Wang‘s The Farewell was presumed to still be able to remain in the top 10 after expanding to 704 theaters on Friday, but it was bested by another Asian sensation i.e. the Korean boy band BTS, as the concert doc Bring the Soul: The Movie took in $2.3 million over the weekend after grossing $2.1 million on Weds. and Thurs. in just 860 theaters. The movie’s success shows the continuing popularity among the boy band’s fanbase following their notoriously “screamy” appearance on Saturday Night Live earlier in the year.

Starring Awkwafina, The Farewell still had a negligible 8% drop to take in $2.2 million in its fifth weekend, having grossed $10.3 million so far.

Bleecker Street’s real-life drama Brian Banks, about the high school football player who spent 11 years in jail after being falsely accused of rape, starring Aldis Hodge in the title role, also disappointed with $2.1 million in 1,240 theaters, a worse per-theater than The Kitchen, taking 12th place for the weekend.

Roadside Attractions’ The Peanut Butter Falcon, a crowd-pleasing road comedy starring Shia LaBeoufDakota Johnson and newcomer Zack Gottsagen — a very talented Downs Syndrome actor — took in a respectable $205,000 in 17 theaters in select cities, a decent $12,073 per theaters. We’ll have to wait and see if Roadside is confident enough in the SXSW Film Festival audience award winner to expand it to more cities.

Director Bart Freundlich‘s dramatic remake After the Wedding, starring Michelle Williams and Freundlich’s wife Julianne Moore, was released by Sony Pictures Classics into five theaters in New York and L.A. where it made $57,124 or $11,425 per theater. The Amazon doc One Child Nation grossed $22,244 in two theaters or about the same amount per venue.

This Week’s Top 10: 

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 1 Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw Universal $25.4 million N/A $108.5 million
2 New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark CBS Films $20.8 million N/A $20.8 million
3 2 The Lion King Disney $20 million -48% $473.1 million
4 New Dora and the Lost City of Gold Paramount $17 million N/A $17 million
5 3 Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood Sony $7.2 million -42% $100.3 million
6 New The Art of Racing in the Rain 20th Century Fox $8.1 million N/A $8.1 million
7 New The Kitchen New Line/WB $5.5 million N/A $5.5 million
8 5 Spider-Man: Far from Home Sony $5.3 million -33%
$371 million
9 7 Toy Story 4 Disney $4.4 million -40% $419.6 million
10 New Bring the Soul: The Movie Trafalgar $2.3 million  N/A $4.4 million

This weekend last August, Jason Statham was also #1 with Warner Bros’ giant shark movie The Meg, which opened at #1 with $44.5 million. Mission: Impossible – Fallout followed in second place with $20 million and the other new movies were the Screen Gems horror film Slender Man with $11.3 million and Spike Lee‘s BlackKklansman with $10.8 million in fourth and fifth place. Lee’s movie opened in nearly a thousand fewer theaters. Regardless, the success of The Meg means that this weekend’s top 10 was down from last year by about $6 million.

Check back Wednesday for The Beat‘s weekly Box Office Preview where I look at the box office prospects of five MORE new wide releases, including Sony’s The Angry Birds Movie 2 and Universal’s R-rated comedy Good Boys.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hilarious to read Variety describe LION KING as Disney’s highest grossing live action movie ever. Everything that appears in every shot was computer animated. There are no real animals in the movie.

    I’m sure Disney is looking forward to the day when it won’t have to hire actors for MCU movies, and can use GCI creations for all the heroes and villains. Like Mickey and Donald, GCI creations don’t hold out for more money, or make “problematic” comments on Twitter.

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