For only the 2nd time in 2019, we’ve had a purely original weekend winner at the Box Office, as R-rated comedy Good Boys opened top of the class with $21.4m. It follows in the footsteps of fellow Universal release ‘Us’ from March, and marks a brief high in what’s been a torrid year-to-date for non-sequel/adaptation/reboot/spinoff #1s; only 2018 had less (1) by weekend 33. Failing to justify studios’ preferences for existing properties were the scanty sequels (‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’, ’47 Meters Down: Uncaged’), and the absent adaptation (‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’), while the other original (‘Blinded By The Light’) barely scraped a place in the top 10 for a generally disappointing weekend for the debutants.
How did the new releases get on?
The Seth Rogen-produced ‘Good Boys’, which starred Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, and many others, became only the 2nd comedy of the year to open to $20m or above (after ‘A Madea Family Funeral’), earning $21.4m in its 1st 3 days, smashing our $15m pre-release forecasts in the process. Many will point towards its acclaim as the main reason for the immediate success, and it’s clear to see why; it made the grade with is B+ on Cinemascore, while its 78% on Rotten Tomatoes is Certified Fresh.
Quality alone doesn’t necessarily dictate success though – if it did, then this summer’s ‘Booksmart’ would’ve surely crossed the $100m barrier. Instead, Universal were able to bank on the power of producers Rogen, Jonah Hill, Evan Goldberg and others in their promotion, as well as the studio’s own expertise in both comedy and advertising, to remain as the genre’s shining star. This expertise has now seen distributor release yet another $20m+ original, R-rated comedy hit, after the recent successes of ‘Girls Trip’, ‘Blockers’, and ‘The Boss’, while ‘Night School’, ‘Ride Along’ and ‘Ride Along 2’ have showcased their ability to master PG-13 releases too.
It also helped that the last comedy in the U.S. (Fox’s ‘Stuber’) was released over a month ago, opening to just $8.2m. With a severe lack of audience competition, especially from the PG-ish releases of the weekend and a studio like Universal at the forefront, ‘Good Boys’ was always primed for a great opening.
Not so great for Sony’s ‘Angry Birds 2’ though, which opened to just $10.4m between Friday and Sunday (and $16m since Wednesday). No surprises here, however, with the 1st film’s success ($108m domestic and $352m global total) signalling the end of the property’s relevance in the public eye. A 2nd outing over 3 years later for a film franchise based off of a once-popular app didn’t just miss the boat, but the harbour entirely.
There’s a sense that Sony knew this, too. They streamlined the film’s budget, costing $65m compared to the 1st movie’s $73m, brought in a host of new voices (such as Awkwafina and Leslie Jones), and have even improved upon the original’s critical reception, yet this was never going to win over an audience in the market for ‘Dora’ and ‘The Lion King’. Sony, it seems, may have flown its birds too close to the sun.
It wasn’t the only pointless sequel of the weekend though. ’47 Meters Down: Uncaged’ opened to $8.4m – $3m shy of its sequel and $4m off from last month’s ‘Crawl’, the other underwater thriller of the summer. While ‘Crawl’ continues to swim to $40m (much like the 1st ’47 Meters’), ‘Uncaged’ is hampered by an audience who’ve already bitten off their fair share of sunken scares – they’re just not interested. To top it off, Entertainment Studios budgeted up an unnecessary $12m production cost for the film whose sequel had less than half the spend, adding an additional anchor to ‘Uncaged’s sinking ship.
Finally, this weekend saw the release of Warner Bros’ comedy-drama ‘Blinded by the Light’, whose opening was anything but shining, debuting to just $4.3m in the U.S. Far from the worst opening however, as Richard Linklater’s ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’, starring Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudrup, and Kristen Wiig, couldn’t even reach the top 10, earning just $3.5m.
How did the others do?
It was better than expected for ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’, with the horror-hit earning a solid $10m in its 2nd weekend. Now sitting on a $40m running domestic total, it was again able to stay above ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’, which dropped by over 50% to post $8.6m, for a $34m domestic gross.
Other notables from the weekend
- ‘The Lion King’ became the 14th biggest film in domestic history this weekend ($496.5m), and also the 9th biggest film of all time globally ($1.44bn), overtaking ‘Finding Dory’ in the U.S. and ‘Age of Ultron’ worldwide respectively.
- ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ is now the biggest Sony release of all time, beating out 2012’s ‘Skyfall’ ($1.11bn vs. $1.109bn).
- ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ opened internationally, earning $60m to top the overseas charts.
- The film is also the only original movie of the summer to break the $100m
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