As expected, ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ outraced the competition, mainly provided by five new wide releases. The ‘F&F’ spin-off crossed its second-weekend finish line with $25.4 million. Its global haul is now $332.6M. It will open in China on August 23, and is expected to do very well there.
CBS Films’ ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’s $20.84M opening is the studio’s second-best ever, just barely falling short of 2012’s ‘The Woman in Black’ starring Daniel Radcliffe, which made $20.87M. Ironically, that’s a great opening for CBS Films’ next-to-last movie, as it is being folded into Paramount, following the CBS-Viacom merger, and will be primarily focused on developing streaming projects moving forward.
Another irony: ‘Scary Stories’ beat ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’, from the studio into which CBS Films is being folded, Paramount.
‘Scary Stories’ had the highest horror opening of the summer, besting ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ ($20.2M), ‘Ma’ ($18M), ‘Child’s Play’ ($14M), and ‘Crawl’ ($12M). In a complete flip-flop from the norm when it comes to horror, critics actually kind of love it, with its Rotten Tomatoes score at a healthy 80%. Audiences were kind of meh, giving it an a C CinemaScore and 3 out of 5 stars via PostTrak. Next week will be the real test. Will genre fans be enticed to check it out thanks to the good reviews, or will poor word-of-mouth kill it?
‘The Lion King’ is still going strong and appears to still be the family movie destination of choice, earning $20M, and besting ‘Dora’. Its domestic total is now $473.1M, making it the second-highest-grossing movie of 2019. Globally, it has now accumulated $1.335B, surpassing ‘Beauty and the Beast’, making it Disney’s highest-grossing “live-action” adaptation. Overseas and globally, it is also the second-highest-grossing movie of 2019, and the 12th highest-grossing movie of all time.
‘Dora the Explorer’ merchandise has generated $11 billion in sales in its 20-year history, so the $17.1M opening for ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ is pretty weak. It was modestly budgeted at $49M, so it should do okay, but franchise plans will most likely be discarded.
The problem seems to be that Dora was aged up, and the film looks to be a satire of the preschool show. Little kids are too young to get the humor, and teens and Millenials are too old for a “family movie.” There is also the sentiment many expressed when ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ and the TV show ‘Riverdale’ were released. Some are too married to the innocent rose-colored-glasses nostalgia they have for the properties to accept an updated version. But both ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Riverdale’ found their audiences and became big hits. It’s possible the same could happen with ‘Dora’.
‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ earned an excellent A CinemaScore. Critics also like it, with it sitting at a great 82% on RT. But with the school year rapidly approaching, it may not have enough time to rebound. (It is expected to do well overseas, so that will help.)
- Hobbes & Shaw (Universal) – $25.4M
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (CBS Films/Lionsgate) – $20.8M
- The Lion King (Disney) – $20M
- Dora and the Lost City of Gold (Paramount) – $17M
- Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (Sony) – $11.6M
As mentioned, ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ bested five newcomers, two of which cracked the Top Five. ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’– $8.1M– is the third sad dog movie this year, following ‘A Dog’s Way Home’ and ‘A Dog’s Journey’. RelishMix actually reports that many are staying away because they don’t want to be caught sobbing in a public movie theater. On the plus side, it got a great reaction from those masochists (most of whom were over 45) that showed up– A- CinemaScore, 4½ PostTrak stars. Critics hate schmaltz, so it predictably has a fairly low 48% RT ranking. (That’s actually higher than I would have expected.)
Gangster drama ‘The Kitchen’ marks the lowest opening ever for both Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish, with $5.3M, and an awful 21% rating on RT. Bleecker Street’s true-life-based sports flick ‘Brian Banks’, also bombed with $2.2M, and 45% on RT. But audiences think it’s great with 4½ stars via PostTrak.
Next week, the counterprogramming parade continues with more disparate entries: kid flick ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ (also featuring Tiffany Haddish); a whole different kind of kid flick, R-rated comedy ‘Good Boys’; shark sequel ’47 Meters Down: Uncaged’; ‘Blinded by the Light’, featuring the music of Bruce Springsteen; and older female-targeted dramedy ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ starring Cate Blanchett.
With ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ cooling down, could one of these be strong enough to take #1? Check back to find out!