The Boss vs Dawn of Justice, or Bad vs Bad
By John Hamann
April 10, 2016
The good news for next weekend’s The Jungle Book never seems to stop these days.
It was the struggling Warner Bros. super-project versus Melissa McCarthy at the box office this weekend, and the battle was more like a Nerf war. The idea of building a DC Comic Universe darkens further, as audiences continue to abandon Batman v Superman at an ugly, alarming rate - at both the domestic and overseas box offices. The door was wide open for McCarthy’s The Boss, but she served up another critical audience turd, similar to the grand piece of cinema that is Tammy. Hardcore Henry, an interesting looking first-person shooter type film, also hit theaters this frame. Alas, this one didn’t work, either, as most gamers aren’t old enough to attend – if you can drag them out of the basement in the first place. This is leaving us with a weak top 12, leaving a large amount of room for Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book next weekend.
The showdown between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Melissa McCarthy’s The Boss was very close this weekend, but in the end, neither film has anything to celebrate. Finishing in top spot – at least through estimates - is The Boss, Universal’s fourth Melissa McCarthy release, after smaller roles in Bridesmaids and This is 40 and the lead in Identity Thief and The Boss. After Sony botched the opening weekend of the very good Spy last summer ($29.1 million opening) due to a terrible marketing campaign, McCarthy goes back to the studio that launched Identity Thief to $34.6 million.
Unfortunately, regardless of studio, McCarthy has made so many turds now that audiences are catching on. The Boss got started during its Thursday preview by earning a decent $1 million, but that was the high point of its run. The Friday number came in at a combined $8.1 million, low compared to the $10.3 million that Spy earned, and even further off the $11.1 million Identify Thief earned in February 2013. Tammy earned $6.4 million on its first Friday, but had opened on a Wednesday in July.
The weekend take for The Boss came in at a lackluster $23.5 million from 3,480 venues. This on the low end of the Melissa McCarthy pattern, as it finishes lower than Identity Thief ($34.6 million), The Heat ($39.1 million), Spy ($29.1 million), and just ahead of Tammy ($21.6 million). McCarthy will be thankful for the upcoming Ghostbusters, which is a sure-fire hit even if just for one weekend, and then goes back to Warner Bros. (who did Tammy with her) for a film called Life of the Party. That one, like Tammy and The Boss, is directed by her husband Ben Falcone. Good for her for keeping with family, and the strategy to do one with him and then one without him, to keep her career going.
Falcone’s Tammy was a brutal 23% fresh at RottenTomatoes, and was thought to be her worst film ever. It wasn’t, at least according to critics, as Identity Thief earned a 19% fresh rating, and now we have The Boss, which scored an 18% fresh rating, setting a new McCarthy low. Audiences feel the same. After Spy earned a B+ Cinemascore last summer, The Boss brought scores back down to a C+, the same score that Tammy earned. This one cost $29 million to make, so all is going to be fine financially. it will pull in $30- $40 million overseas, but like Batman v Superman, McCarthy is damaging her brand despite these successes. Ask Adam Sandler how that worked out for him.