We here at JUMPCUT love a good Box Office race.
Two new films, Universal Studio’s ‘Night School’ and Warner Bros’ ‘Smallfoot’, aim to please fans and those (well, me) looking for a close fight for first place in the B.O. standings this weekend. Both look likely to earn close to $30m, although the comedy ‘Night School’ should finish top of the class by Sunday night. The film, starring the likes of Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart, revolves around a group of adults who attend night school in the hopes of passing their high school exams.
It’ll definitely pass the commercial test – Kevin Hart is rapidly becoming Box Office gold for comedy movies, while Tiffany Haddish still has enough heat off of last summer’s hit ‘Girls Trip’ to draw in the cinemagoers.
Helmed by ‘Girls Trip’ director Malcolm D. Lee and produced by Will Packer (who also produced ‘Girls Trip’), its 30% on the Tomatometer won’t stop this from being the biggest comedy opening of 2018 – a year full of disappointment for the genre. While films like ‘Life of the Party’ and ‘I Feel Pretty’ may have suffered from an over-reliance on a singular waning lead, ‘Night School’ bucks the trend by having two of the biggest comedians in the world (Kevin Hart alone has around 100m social media followers) take top billing.
‘Girls Trip’ opened to $31.2m last summer, while some of Kevin Hart’s recent films, like ‘Jumanji’ ($36.2m), ‘Central Intelligence’ ($35.5m), ‘Ride Along 2’ ($35.2m), and ‘Get Hard’ ($33.8m) have also consistently opened over the $30m mark. There’s a strong chance for ‘Night School’ to do the same, and we’re expecting a finish around $33m.
Following closely is ‘Smallfoot’, the $80m-budget adventure animation starring a host of famous faces (or voices). Channing Tatum, Zendaya, LeBron James, Danny DeVito, and Gina Rodriguez, among many others, feature in this adaptation of the book ‘Yeti Tracks’ by Sergio Pablos, and looks to earn up to three times as much as the last WB animation (‘Teen Titans Go!’) opened to back in July.
After ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’ release last weekend, ‘Smallfoot’ will be hoping to not be in its second weekend shadow, as the family audience both films aim for are now more spoilt for choice. ‘Smallfoot’ wins the battle in the critical department (75% on Rotten Tomatoes), but as it isn’t a Disney/Pixar release, or even from Illumination (‘Minions’, ‘Secret Life of Pets’), we’re capping its opening at $26m – similar to ‘The House’, and also fellow child-friendly release ‘Christopher Robin’ from last month.
Talking about ‘The House’, last weekend’s victor should gross just under $15m to keep it alongside 2016s fantasy ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’, which earned $15.1m in its second Friday to Sunday run. Both are below ‘The House’ star Jack Black’s other Halloween flick, 2015s ‘Goosebumps’ second weekend, which brought in $15.5m on its way to an $80.1m domestic gross.
The Halloween films don’t stop coming either – slasher-horror ‘Hell Fest’ looks to claim multiple Box Office victims from just 2,300 cinemas. It’s perhaps been a little under the radar in the States when compared to ‘Night School’ and ‘Smallfoot’, especially with its modest $5.5m budget, but this could definitely spring a nasty surprise. Its young, female cast, lead by Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, and Bex Taylor-Klaus, hopes to better last weekend’s similarly-targeted ‘Assassination Nation’, and should with a gross near $7m.
The final new wide release this weekend is drama ‘Little Women’, showing in only 643 cinemas across the U.S for a likely gross of $1.2m. Fun fact: ‘Little Women’, directed by Clare Niederpruem, is an adaptation of a 150-year-old novel (called – get this – ‘Little Women’) and marks the 7th time a film has been made from the book, after versions released in 1917, 1918, 1933, 1949, 1978, and 1994. Next year sees Greta Gerwig direct the latest adaptation, aiming for a Christmas release.
‘Night School’ should be crowned the victor this weekend, marking yet another strong opening for Kevin Hart. Is he a bonafide Box Office star? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.