The linguistically raunchy tween comedy Good Boys surpassed expectations and topped the weekend box office with a $21 million debut.  Still, with the other four new films faltering, Good Boys wasn’t quite enough to insure a year-over-year win as the box office dipped 8.9% versus the same frame last year when Crazy Rich Asians topped the charts with $26.5 million.

Good Boys was expected to debut with $12-14 million, but a clever online ad campaign succeeded in building interest for the R-rated comedy about three tween boys desperate to attend a kissing party.  Good Boys proved to be the first R-rated comedy to top the box office since the spring of 2016, which has to be seen as a boost to this once successful subgenre (The Hangover) that has fallen on hard times.  It also posted the best 2019 opening for an original comedy and the second best debut for any comedy so far this year, trailing only Tyler Perry’s  A Medea Family Funeral ($27.1 million).

Good Boys attracted a younger audience (for an R-rated film) with 70% of the crowd between 18 and 34, and they gave the film a solid “B+” CinemaScore.  With little direct comedy competition until Zombieland 2 debuts, Good Boys has a chance to expand on its solid debut.

Second place went to the pricy Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, which dropped 44% as it earned $14.1 million to bring its domestic total to $133.7 million.  It is still not clear that Hobbs & Shaw will manage to overtake John Wick 3 to earn the title of best crime/action picture of the summer because the Fast & Furious franchise is losing steam here in North America.  However Hobbs & Shaw is “killing” overseas where it has earned $303 million (70% of its total worldwide gross), and it hasn’t even opened in China, where the franchise is hugely popular.

There’s not much left to say about the photo-realistic animated remake of The Lion King, which earned $11.9 million in its fifth weekend of release, pushing its domestic total to a staggering $496.7 million.  Jon Favreau’s film has earned twice that amount overseas and has a global total of more than $1.4 billion.  By next weekend it will have passed Beauty and the Beast ($504 million, domestic) to become the highest grossing “musical’ in North American box office history.

Debuting in fourth place was the Angry Birds Movie 2, which earned just $10.5 million for the 3-day weekend and $16.2 million in its first six days.  The first Angry Birds film, which was terrible, but which benefited greatly from the success of the Angry Birds phone game, debuted with $38.2 million.  Audiences got their revenge by staying away from the second Angry Birds film, which is much better.  It has a 76% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes versus a 44% positive rating for the first Angry Birds movie in 2016.

Angry Birds 2 did receive a solid “B+” CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences that skewed slightly female (51%) and older, with 53% over 25, but the bitter aftertaste of first Angry Birds film could spell doom.

Weekend Box Office (Studio Estimates): August 16-18, 2019

 

Film

Weekend Gross

Screens

Avg./Screen

Total Gross

Wk#

1

Good Boys

$21,000,000

3,204

$6,554

$21,000,000

1

2

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

$14,140,000

3,757

$3,764

$133,741,600

3

3

The Lion King

$11,900,000

3,560

$3,343

$496,107,985

5

4

The Angry Birds Movie 2

$10,500,000

3,869

$2,714

$16,237,146

1

5

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

$10,050,000

3,135

$3,206

$40,216,784

2

6

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

$9,000,000

2,853

$3,155

$9,000,000

1

7

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

$8,500,000

3,735

$2,276

$33,909,724

2

8

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

$7,600,000

2,504

$3,035

$114,348,212

4

9

Blinded By the Light

$4,450,000

2,307

$1,929

$4,450,000

1

10

The Art of Racing in the Rain

$4,403,000

2,765

$1,592

$16,881,187

2

Fifth place went to the Guillermo Del Toro kids’ horror film Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which dropped 52% in its second weekend, earning $10 million to drive its domestic total to $40.2 million.  With a global total of over $55 million, Scary Stories is heading towards a modest profit.

Last summer the survival/horror/shark-slasher film 47 Meters Down was a modestly budgeted hit that earned $44 million here in North America.  This year’s sequel 47 Meters Down: Uncaged debuted with $9 million, which isn’t far from its predecessor’s $11.2 million opening.   In any other genre except horror, Uncaged’s “C+” CinemaScore would be a problem, but we will just have to wait and see if Uncaged can match its predecessor’s “legs.”

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood continued its strong showing, dropping just 34.8% in its fourth weekend as it earned $7.6 million to bring its domestic total to $114.4 million.  The big news this week is the fact that Once Upon a Time won the overseas market with $53.7 million from 46 markets to drive its global haul to more than $180 million.

The best-reviewed new film of the weekend, Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded by the Light (90% positive on RT), debuted weakly at #9 with $4.5 million.  It did receive an “A-“ CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences that skewed slightly female (51%) and very much older (with 86% over 25), so perhaps this saga of a Pakistani immigrant in London who finds solace in the songs of Bruce Springsteen, will  eventually become an art house hit.

Debuting outside the top ten was the drama Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, which earned just $3.45 million, attracting an audience that skewed heavily female (66%) and older (84% over 25).

Mention should be made of the fact that Spider-Man: Far From Home has at last surpassed Skyfall to become Sony’s highest-grossing film of all time (not adjusted for inflation, but impressive nonetheless).

Be sure to check back here next weekend to see what happens after three new films including the black comedy/thriller Ready or Not opens, along with the third film in the “Fallen” action franchise Angel Has Fallen, and the faith-based Overcomer.