We bid September farewell with a solid if unspectacular weekend at the box office, headlined by a comedy and an animated film. It's a good warm up for what's about to be a surprisingly big October.
by Tim Briody
September 30, 2018
Night School is the top film of the weekend, earning $28 million. The comedy was a good test for both of its stars, Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart. This was Haddish's first lead role after her breakout in last year's Girls Trip, and Hart hasn't had a lead role in a comedy in a while (outside of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, where he is not the reason that earned $400 million) so this was a check on if he's still got an audience since 2016's Central Intelligence.
Night School's weekend doesn't match the opening of Girls Trip ($31.2 million) or Central Intelligence ($35.5 million) but this total is fine, especially considering it was pretty poorly reviewed (30% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and comedies tend to live or die on critical response. I wouldn't expect long legs for Night School given the reviews, but with a $29 million budget, Universal should be happy that it just about made its cost back by end of opening weekend.
Smallfoot lands in second with $23 million, a notch or so below the expectations it had going into the weekend. An animated film from Warner Bros. about yetis who discover the mythical creatures known as humans, with a voice cast including Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya and LeBron James, Smallfoot had middling reviews, but they tend to not move the needle one way or another. It's slightly ahead of Warner Bros.' last animation attempt, 2016's Storks, which opened with $21.3 million. (Warner Bros. does also have the LEGO Movie franchise, but that's a bit of a different animal.) Smallfoot was looking for a weekend closer to $30 million, but when you're clearly a second tier entry (i.e., not Disney/Pixar and not an established franchise), it's sometimes tough to get families excited. It should fare better over the next couple weekends than Night School, however.
The House with a Clock in its Walls dips 53% from opening weekend to third place with $12.5 million and $44.7 million to date. The drop here indicates that more family dollars went to Smallfoot than the live action entry. The good news is that it crossed its reported $42 million budget, so Universal will be happy with the outcome here as it looks to reach about $70 million domestically.
A Simple Favor once again holds very well after sliding just 36% to earn $6.6 million this weekend and give it $43 million in three weekends. The appeal of the two leads and solid word-of-mouth have turned the Lionsgate film into a hit with just a $20 million budget, and it is headed towards at least $60 million.
The Nun gets one last good weekend in, adding $5.4 million to its total and giving it $109 million in four weekends. The Conjuring Universe continues to roll alone unabated, with an Annabelle sequel next July, as well as The Conjuring 3 and a Nun sequel in development.
Hell Fest is the weekend's third opener and the slasher film ends up running into The Nun's fourth weekend, as it can only muster up $5 million on the weekend. The only good news here for CBS Films is that it cost $5.5 million to make, so it will have that back by tomorrow, but I don't expect much more than that, and Hell Fest will barely finish over $10 million total.
Crazy Rich Asians finally drops out of the top five in its seventh weekend, adding $4.1 million and giving it $165.6 million to date. The best box office story of the year (non-Black Panther edition) will end up with about $180 million, on just a $30 million budget.
The Predator's freefall continues as it takes eighth place after winning the weekend two weeks ago, falling 60% to $3.7 million and giving it $47.6 million in three weekends. A reported $88 million budget on this one hurts, and while it's crossed $100 million thanks to overseas earnings, it was expected to need over $200 million to turn a profit, and that ain't gonna happen.
White Boy Rick clings to ninth with $2.3 million and $21.7 million in three weekends. It's not a great total here as Sony thought they had a contender on their hands, but those dreams fizzled out quickly when the opening weekend box office came in. It also cost $30 million to make, a figure it won't reach domestically, and it's not expected to make any sort of overseas impact, given the subject matter.
Peppermint gets one last weekend in the top ten with $1.7 million and $33.5 million in four weekends. The Jennifer Garner revenge fantasy did crack its $25 million budget, but STX Entertainment seemingly thought this was the start of a franchise.
The top 12 films in the land tallied $94.7 million. That's ahead of last year's $82.3 million when Kingsman: The Golden Circle led for a second weekend with $16.9 million.
Next week things get very real at the box office as we have another Marvel character arriving (but not as part of the MCU) in Venom and the first real awards bait release of the year as A Star Is Born arrives, starring Bradley Cooper (who also wrote and directed) and Lady Gaga.