‘Night School’ aced the opening weekend exam, earning $28 million, despite a failing grade from critics– 30% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences did not agree, giving it an A- CinemaScore which is equal to star Kevin Hart’s previous film ‘Central Intelligence’, but lower than ‘Ride Along”s A as well as Tiffany Haddish’s previous hit ‘Girls Trip’ which earned a glowing A+. On the plus side, ‘Night School’ ranked higher than ‘Ride Along 2”s B+ and ‘Get Hard”s B.
Universal’s domestic distribution chief, Jim Orr, said:
“Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish are two of the biggest names in comedy, and they make an unstoppable duo in this film. Their chemistry and comedic timing pop off the screen. They have an immensely dedicated and broad fan base that turned out in droves, giving Universal its second straight No. 1 opening, and the largest comedy debut of the year.”
Some were expecting this movie to reach $30M, which was too generous, but $28M is pretty excellent for a comedy, as that genre has been floundering at the box office in recent years. This year’s previous comedy debut champ was Universal’s ‘Blockers’ which opened with $20.5M, so this performance easily tops that.
Both ‘Night School’ and the #2 movie, Warner Brothers’ ‘Smallfoot’ did better on Saturday than on Friday. ‘Smallfoot’ earned $23M and took a hefty bite out of ‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ which was in its second weekend. ‘Smallfoot’ did excellently at matinees, but ticket sales plunged after 6pm. In contrast, Disney/Pixar movies tend to draw audiences well into the evening hours, indicating that this WB picture is strictly appealing to little kids (and their parents) and not entire families or general audiences, even with its all-star cast which includes Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, LeBron
James, Danny DeVito, Gina Rodriguez, and Yara Shahidi.
‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ took a larger than expected 55% drop in its second weekend, earning $17.5M, which was good enough to land at #3. The female-friendly ‘A Simple Favor’ landed at #4 with ‘The Nun’ at #5.
That means new horror entry ‘Hell Fest’ didn’t crack the Top Five.
- Night School (Universal) – $28M
- Smallfoot (Warner Brothers) – $23M
- The House with a Clock in its Walls (Amblin/Universal) – $17.5M
- A Simple Favor (Lionsgate) – $6.6M
- The Nun (Warner Brothers) – $5.4M
The Academy Award hopeful ‘A Star is Born’ starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, making his directorial debut, is opening next week. The awards buzz may propel this movie to the top, but it has to conquer Sony’s ‘Venom’, a not-quite-spin-off of the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise. Sony is really hyping this picture, but it remains to be seen if audiences will react accordingly, considering that this is not directly tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Place your bets and check back to see how things turn out.