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Melissa McCarthy, squaring off against both Batman and Superman over the weekend, scored a narrow victory, as the raucous comedian’s new feature The Boss claimed the top spot at the North American box office in a virtual photo finish with an estimated $23.48 million, just a few dollars above Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’s weekend gross of $23.44 million. The superhero movie fell 54 percent in its third weekend as its total domestic tally rose to $296.7 million.
Hardcore Henry, the first-person POV action movie from STX Entertainment, the weekend’s other new wide release, didn’t shoot up the box office, debuting at just $5.1 million for a fifth-place showing from 3,015 locations.
On the specialty front, Fox Searchlight opened Demolition, Jean-Marc Vallee’s drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a man coping with the death of his wife, in 854 locations, where it grossed $1.1 million, for a quiet per-theater average of just $1,317.
And on the international scene, Warners‘ Batman v. Superman led the list, corralling $34 million in 67 markets to bring its international cume to $486.8 million. Both Disney’s The Jungle Book and Universal’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War made promising international debuts in select territories in advance of their North American openings, with The Jungle Book taking in $28.9 million to rank second and Winter’s War pulling in $20 million for a fifth-place showing. Rounding out the top five internationally were Millennium’s London Has Fallen in third place with $26 million and Disney’s Zootopia in fourth with $22.7 million.
The Boss, released by Universal in 3,480 locations, had to overcome withering reviews — its approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes was just 18 percent — and a C+ rating from CinemaScore along the way. But McCarthy can nevertheless claim her third No. 1 opening, following 2013’s Identity Thief and last summer’s Spy.
Female moviegoers flocked to The Boss. Its audience was 67 percent female, with 51 percent under age 35 and 49 percent 35 and older, the studio reported. Seventy-nine percent cited McCarthy as the main reason they sought out the movie. “We love the fact that Melissa is a genuine movie star, people love her comedies and she opens at No. 1,” said Universal’s domestic distribution president Nicholas Carpou. “The Boss is a female-driven, R-rated raunchy comedy that delivers, and there hasn’t been one for a while.”
Written by McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone with their Groundlings collaborator Steve Mallory and directed by Falcone, the pic, which was produced for $29 million, is coming in on the low end for one of McCarthy’s trademark R-rated comedies. It is performing along the lines of 2014’s Tammy, also directed by Falcone, which opened to $21.6 million and went on to gross $84.5 million domestically and $100.5 million worldwide. A Wednesday opener, Tammy grossed $33.5 million in its first five days.
In The Boss, McCarthy, drawing on a character she created as a member of the Groundlings comedy troupe, plays a titan of industry who, after a stint in prison, has to rebuild her life and empire. Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage and Kathy Bates also star. The comedy was produced by McCarthy and Falcone’s On the Day production company along with Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy’s Gary Sanchez Productions.
The Boss and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, playing in 4,102 locations, actually seesawed back and forth during the course of the weekend. The Boss took Friday with $8.1 million, including $985,000 from Thursday night previews, versus BvS’s $6.05 million, but BvS was stronger on Saturday with $10.7 million versus Boss’ $9.7 million. BvS is expected to cross the $300 million mark domestically by Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.
Internationally, BvS took in $34 million from 67 markets to bring its international cume to $486.8 million and its worldwide total to $783.5 million.
Hardcore Henry, from director Ilya Naishuller, drew its inspiration from first-person shooter video games, and it appears that it was younger videogamers, targeted by the studio, who showed up to support the movie. The pic’s audience was heavily male, at 76 percent, and young, with 67 percent in the 17-34 age group. While STX acquired the movie for $10 million at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, the studio said that its foreign sales limited its exposure to $2 million.
In other box-office action, Disney’s animated Zootopia, in its ninth weekend, landed in third place with an additional $14.4 million, bringing its domestic gross to $296 million. With the addition of another $22.7 million from international markets, its worldwide number grew to $852.5 million. The film now ranks as the fifth-highest-grossing original animated release of all time and the 11th-highest-grossing animated movie ever, and is only $5 million shy of surpassing Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out.
In fourth place, Universal’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 pulled in $6.4 million in its third weekend to bring its domestic gross to $46.7 million.
Faith-based movies occupied the sixth and seventh slots, with Sony’s Miracles From Heaven attracting $4.8 million for a $53.9 million domestic purse, and Pure Flix’s God’s Not Dead 2 collecting $4.3 million for a $14.1 million cume.
The Jungle Book, which is set to bow on Friday in North America, began its international rollout in 15 markets in Asia and Latin America over the weekend, where it took in $28.9 million. That opening was almost double the number posted by those same markets for last year’s Cinderella and 32 percent of 2014’s Maleficent, the studio reported. India was the top territory with $7.6 million.
The Huntsman sequel, which debuts domestically April 22, tested the waters in 18 territories, grossing $20 million. It opened in the No.1 slot in 11 markets, led by the U.K. and Ireland, where it drew $4.4 million.
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