The Spool / Box Office Report
Box Office Report: “Hobbs & Shaw” Stays in Pole Position, “Scary Stories” Makes a Scary Debut
The latest Fast & Furious movie maintains a modest hold on the box office this weekend, while newcomer Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark makes a big splash for late-summer horror flicks.
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The latest Fast & Furious movie maintains a modest hold on the box office this weekend, while newcomer Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark makes a big splash for late-summer horror flicks.

A whole slew of new wide releases dropped into the marketplace as August 2019 really turned into full gear. Topping the box office was a holdover, Hobbs & Shaw, which fell 57% from its opening weekend. That’s a noticeably better hold than prior Fast & Furious titles like The Fate of the Furious (61%) and Fast & Furious 6 (63%) but it’s much larger than the second-weekend holds of prior late summer blockbusters, like the 46% second-weekend drop of last summer’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Grossing another $25.4 million this weekend, Hobbs & Shaw has now grossed $108.5 million after ten days of release.

The biggest of this weekend’s new releases was horror title Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which opened to $20.8 million. That’s the third-biggest opening for a horror movie in 2019 and the second-biggest opening weekend ever for CBS Films. It’s also only slightly behind the opening weekend of Goosebumps despite that 2015 title having a bigger budget and a much more high-profile cast. 

This bow is noticeably above expectations and you can chalk that up to the fact that the original Scary Stories books have a widespread fanbase, it being the first horror film in about a month and some darn good marketing that included some memorable Super Bowl commercials. Maybe this kind of box office will convince CBS not to revamp CBS Films in 2020 as just a service to produce movies for the CBS All-Access streaming service?

Briefly pausing for holdover news, The Lion King dipped another 48% this weekend for a fourth-weekend gross of $20 million for a $473.1 million domestic haul. Though it’s proven to be a touch frontloaded, The Lion King has already cleared $1.334 billion worldwide and is now the twelfth biggest film of all-time worldwide.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold was the second-biggest new release of the weekend with an OK $17 million bow. Among Nickelodeon Movies titles, that’s the fourteenth biggest launch ever for the production outfit and the second-biggest opening weekend for a non-Disney family title in August, only behind The Smurfs 2.

 Dora the Explorer is such a popular character that it’s no surprise a live-action feature film managed to open to decent numbers, though it was kept from truly breaking out at the box office due to marketing that failed to appeal to older viewers. It’s a peculiarly reversed situation of last August’s Christopher Robin, which failed to really break out because its marketing failed to truly appeal to kids. 

Kids movies opening in August tend to do about 4 times their opening weekend, so Dora should be able to squeak past $70 million domestically. Not an ideal number for a $49 million budgeted family movie based on such a famous character, but considering how Paramount Pictures has been starved for family movies that aren’t outright box office bombs in recent years, they’ll probably take it.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood became only the fourth Quentin Tarantino movie ever to crack $100 million domestically this weekend thanks to an $11.6 million third-weekend. A 42% drop from last weekend, Hollywood has now grossed $100.3 million domestically and given the lack of competition over the next three weekends, it appears on track for a final domestic gross of $125-130 million.

The newest resurgence of live-action talking dog family movies may have just hit a brick wall after The Art of Racing in the Rain opened this weekend to just $8.1 million, a poor opening for this particular subgenre as it came in just $100,000 ahead of the opening weekend of this past May’s box office dud A Dog’s Journey. Even though it was made for just $18 million, this isn’t a good result that can be attributed to there being a bunch of family movie options in the marketplace, Kevin Costner’s doggo just couldn’t keep up.

Towards the bottom of the heap of this weekend’s new wide releases was The Kitchen, which opened to a dismal $5.51 million. In terms of other crime movie opening weekends, it’s below the $5.7 million debut of Criminal and only slightly ahead of the $5.3 million bow of Dead Man Down while it’s also the lowest opening weekend for a Melissa McCarthy vehicle. Given that the original Kitchen graphic novel isn’t hugely popular and that it starred two comedic actors in dramatic roles, The Kitchen was always a risky bet, but it did seem like the kind of risk that could totally pay off given how many crime movies Warner Bros. has released to great box office success in the past. 

However, unimaginative marketing and poor reviews kept audiences away, and given how many new wide releases are dropping in the near future and vying for its screens, it’s hard to imagine The Kitchen will be able to stick around long enough in the marketplace to overcome this poor opening weekend.

With all but one of the new wide releases out of the way, we now move on to holdovers like Spider-Man: Far From Home, which eased 33% this frame to gross another $5.3 million. Having grossed $370.9 million to date, Far from Home will surpass the $373.5 million domestic haul of Spider-Man 2 by the end of the week to become the second-biggest Spider-Man movie ever domestically. Meanwhile, with a 40% drop this frame and an eighth weekend gross of $4.4 million, Toy Story 4 now has a domestic haul of $419.5 million, enough to put it past the $415 million lifetime domestic gross of Toy Story 3 to make it the biggest Toy Story movie ever domestically.

Rounding out the top ten was Bring the Soul: The Movie, a concert documentary that grossed $2.3 million from 873 locations this weekend and has taken in $4.4 million since opening on Wednesday. After just five days of release, the title is already the biggest movie ever domestically for Trafalgar Releasing. Right behind that feature was The Farewell, finally expanded into wide release this weekend by bringing its theater count to 704 locations. 

Grossing another $2.2 million this frame (a tiny 8% decrease from last weekend) for a $3,150 per-theater average, The Farewell is showing remarkable weekend-to-weekend retention and has now grossed $10.3 million domestically. Such a sum makes it the only the twelfth A24 release ever to gross over $10 million and also making it only the third limited release title of 2019 to crack $10 million domestically. The final new wide release of the weekend was Brian Banks, which grossed only $2.1 million in its opening weekend, an underwhelming showing for a movie debuting in 1,240 locations.

Moving onto more holdovers, Aladdin, thanks to the presence of two new live-action family movies, finally had a hefty weekend-to-weekend drop as it fell a steep 61% to add $819,000 for a domestic gross of $352.7 million. Maiden continued its slow but steady domestic run this weekend by expanding into 173 locations and taking in a seventh-weekend gross of $254,273 for a per-theater average of $1,470 and a domestic gross of $1.9 million to date. Not bad at all for a movie that’s never played in more than 175 theaters.

The biggest of this weekend’s new limited releases was The Peanut Butter Falcon, which opened to $205,236 from 17 locations for a per-theater average of $12,073. While not an outstanding bow, August is totally a place where a film can have a successful slow but steady box office run, so let’s where it goes in the weeks to come. In its second weekend of release, Luce grossed $144,537 from 24 locations for a per-theater average of $6,015 and a domestic gross of $317,765. Them That Follow grossed $87,750 from 195 locations for a disastrous per-theater average of $450 and a domestic gross of only $103,970. 

The Nightingale already appears to be running out of steam as it grossed just $71,826 from 27 locations for a per-theater average of $2,660 and a domestic gross of $119,785. Another limited release newbie of the weekend, After the Wedding, opened to $57,124 from 5 locations for a per-theater average of $11,425 while Honeyland, in its third weekend of release, grossed $32,470 from 12 locations for a per-theater average of $2,706 and a domestic gross of $129,662. One Child Nation opened to $22,244 from 2 locations for a per-theater average of $11,122, the fourth-lowest opening weekend ever for an Amazon Studios release. The top twelve movies this weekend grossed a total of $124.7 million, down about 6% from this same weekend last year when another Jason Statham blockbuster, The Meg, topped the box office.