Public hunger for R-rated comedies hasn’t exactly been voracious in the last few years. While the genre producing titles that made $100 million used to be a common thing, the market in the last few years has been kind of sad. Fortunately, the release of Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky’s Good Boys seems to have energized things a bit, and with any luck we will hopefully start seeing a comeback for R-rated comedies in the near future.
Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!
|1.||Good Boys*||$21,000,000||Total: $21,000,000||
|2.||Hobbs & Shaw||$14,140,000||Total: $133,741,600||
|3.||The Lion King||$11,900,000||Total: $496,107,985||
|4.||The Angry Birds Movie 2*||$10,500,000||Total: $16,237,146||
|5.||Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark||$10,050,000||Total: $40,216,784||
|6.||47 Meters Down: Uncaged*||$9,000,000||Total: $9,000,000||
|7.||Dora And The Lost City Of Gold||$8,500,000||Total: $33,909,724||
|8.||Once Upon A Time In Hollywood||$7,600,000||Total: $114,348,212||
|9.||Blinded By The Light*||$4,450,000||Total: $4,450,000||
|10.||The Art Of Racing In The Rain||$4,403,000||Total: $16,881,187||
There is perhaps no better indicator of the slowdown in the demand for R-rated comedies than the terrible streak that Good Boys just broke. Prior to this weekend, the last title in the subgenre to open at number one was Ben Falcone’s The Boss, which was released in April of 2016. We’ve certainly seen some excellent releases between then and now, including Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon’s Sausage Party, Kay Cannon’s Blockers, and Jonathan Levine’s The Night Before, but they each opened in second, third, and fourth place, respectively. Three years is a long time in between number one, so hopefully we won’t see another run like that for a long time.
So what allowed Good Boys to succeed where others fell short? It certainly must have helped that the film rode into theaters on a impressively positive wave of buzz that started gaining momentum back in the spring when the movie premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. While comedy can be divisive among critics, as reactions to material are always going to be about subjective taste dispositions, the significant majority of them gave the release a thumbs up, as the title is now rocking a “Certified Fresh” stamp on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 80 percent score. Opening night audiences also gave it their seal of approval, as CinemaScore calculated a “B+” grade from early crowds.
All the more impressive about this big win for Good Boys is the fact that it not only had a good number of films it was competing with in its opening weekend, but that the titles weren’t just mid-August studio dumps. Each of the new releases could have performed well given what recent trends have shown us, but the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg-produced feature about children embroiled in a mature adventure proved to be the most attractive.
It’s a pretty nice boost for Universal Pictures too, which has now spent three straight weeks with releases at the top of the chart. While perhaps not up to the expectations made for the features in the main Fast & Furious series, David Leitch’s Hobbs & Shaw has been performing solidly this month, and held strong at number two this weekend. Adding the foreign market totals to the $133.7 million that the film has made in North America thus far, its global gross now stands at $457 million, which ranks it as the fifth biggest title thus far in the franchise, behind only James Wan’s Furious 7 ($1.516 billion) , F. Gary Gray’s The Fate Of The Furious ($1.236 billion), and the Justin Lin’s two-fer Fast & Furious 6 ($788.7 million), and Fast Five ($626.1 million).
On that note, it definitely helps Good Boys that every other wide release this weekend basically under-performed. The most significant example of this is the performance by Sony Pictures Animation’s The Angry Birds Movie 2, which yet another sequel to struggle in 2019 – following in the footsteps of F. Gary Gray’s Men In Black International, Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life Of Pets 2, Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix, and Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King Of The Monsters. Simply put, when put next to the numbers put up by its predecessor, the new animated release looks really, really bad. Released back in May 2016, the first Angry Birds Movie made nearly four times as much in its first three days as the follow-up, and it’s hard to imagine the audience significantly growing with time just because of various back-to-school activities that dominate this time of year.
Meanwhile, Johannes Roberts’ 47 Meters Down: Uncaged also performed worse than the original, but the comparison is much less extreme – with the difference being only about $2 million. That being said, while 2017’s 47 Meters Down was able to ultimately make a nice chunk of change by only very slowly dropping out of the Top 10 over the course of a lukewarm summer, this one isn’t predicted to have the same kind of legs. It was an interesting play moving to mid-August, particularly because of the success found by Jon Turteltaub’s The Meg around this time last year, but that blockbuster success is not going to be replicated.
Last among the new wide releases on the Top 10 is Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded By The Light, which had to settle for a take of $4.5 million and ninth place. Given the way that musicals and music-themed projects have been hitting recently (Danny Boyle’s Yesterday crossed $71 million this week), one might have hoped that this ode to the songs of Bruce Springsteen would have performed better, but it’s not off to a great start. At the very least it can say that it did better than Richard Linklater’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which, despite being based on a best selling book, wasn’t able to make it on to the chart with a disappointing take of only $3.5 million (only good enough for 11th place).
After putting out 10 new wide releases in the last 14 days, Hollywood is slowing things down a bit this week, but still has some interesting movies ready to hit theaters. This includes Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s horror feature Ready Or Not, Ric Roman Waugh’s action thriller Angel Has Fallen, and Alex Kendrick’s religious drama Overcomer. Will Good Boys be able to continue being the number one movie in America, or will we have a new title in the headline next time around? Be sure to tune in next Sunday to see how these new features wind up shaking things up at the box office.