Box Office: 'Good Boys' Steals the Show With $21M Debut

Courtesy of Universal Studios
'Good Boys'

Elsewhere, 'Blinded by the Light' and 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' bombed, while 'Angry Birds 2' and '47 Meters Down 2' didn't have much of a bite.

In a surprise victory and much-needed boost for the comedy genre, Universal's raunchy tween pic Good Boys laughed its way to the top of the U.S. box office chart with $21 million from 3,204 theaters.

The film, produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, marks the first time that an R-rated comedy has placed No. 1 since The Boss in spring 2016. It's also the biggest opening for an original comedy in 2019 thus far and the second-biggest of any comedy this year behind Madea's Family Funeral ($27.1 million).

Heading into the weekend, Good Boys had been expected to lose to Hobbs & Shaw in North America with an opening in the $12 million to $15 million range.

The film follows a trio of 12-year-old boys who will do anything to gain admittance to a kissing party. Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon star, with Gene Stupnitsky helming in his feature directorial debut. Nearly 70 percent of the audience was between ages 18 and 34.

Universal had a great weekend overall, becoming only the second major Hollywood studio behind Disney to boast $1 billion or more in 2019 domestic ticket sales (Disney's slice is more than $2.8 billion). And Universal is the only major to have an original film open in first place this year, a feat it has now accomplished twice (the first was Jordan Peele's Us).

Other Universal wins at the August box office include Hobbs & Shaw. The Fast & Furious spinoff placed No. 2 in its third weekend with an estimated $14.1 million from 3,757 theaters as it topped the $400 million mark globally. Overseas, the action pic earned another $45.7 million — including a franchise-best debut of $15 million in South Korea — to finish Sunday with an international tally of $303 million and $436.7 million in total.

Disney's The Lion King continued to display enviable staying power. It came in at No. 3 in its fifth weekend in North America with $11.9 million for a domestic cume of $496.1 million. Overseas, the film earned $33.8 million for a foreign total of $939.1 million and $1.4 billion worldwide.

However, Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood bested both Hobbs & Shaw and Lion King abroad as it began opening offshore in earnest. Once Upon a Time earned $53.7 million from 46 markets to score Tarantino the best start of his career in like-for-like markets, according to Sony. The movie's global total through Sunday is $180.5 million.

In the U.S., the weekend's four other new wide releases after Good Boys didn't make much noise.

Sony and Rovio Entertainment's animated family film The Angry Birds Movie 2 grossed an estimated $10.5 million from 3,869 theaters for the weekend proper, putting its six-day debut at $16.2 million. The first film in the budding franchise launched with $38.2 million in May 2016. Overseas, the sequel opened to $19.4 million from 29 markets — including a subdued $10 million in China — for an early global total of $46.4 million.

While Sony didn't have much to crow about regarding Angry Birds 2, it did celebrate Spider-Man: Far From Home surpassing the James Bond installment Skyfall ($1.1 billion) on Sunday to become Sony's top-grossing film of all time globally, not adjusted for inflation.

Entertainment Studios' indie shark pic 47 Meters Down: Uncaged debuted to an estimated $9 million from 2,853 locations. While the sequel didn't match the $11.2 million bow of the first 47 Meters Down in summer 2017, the gap was far less dramatic.

New Line's Bruce Springsteen-inspired Blinded by the Light and Annapurna's Where'd You Go, Bernadette both bombed, becoming the latest adult-skewing, wide-release summer titles to misfire. (Exceptions include Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Yesterday.)

Blinded by the Light opened to an estimated $4.1 million from 2,307 cinemas (it's likely to come in No. 10 once final weekend numbers are tallied, versus No. 9). Directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), the film is a coming-of-age tale about a British teen born to Pakistani immigrants whose life changes when he falls in love with Springsteen's music. Newcomer Viveik Kalra stars.

In an unusual move, New Line acquired Blinded by the Light out of this year's Sundance Film Festival at a price tag of $15 million or more (the studio label isn't generally in the business of making festival acquisitions). Last weekend, New Line's female-fronted mob pic The Kitchen also faltered.

Bernadette, starring Cate Blanchett, followed at No. 11 with an estimated $3.5 million from 2,404 locations. Filmmaker Richard Linklater's adaptation of the 2012 comic novel about an agoraphobic Seattle housewife and once-brilliant architect who goes missing marks another disappointment for Megan Ellison's Annapurna.

Both Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Blinded by the Light skewed notably older. In the case of Bernadette, only 15 percent of ticket buyers were 25 or younger, while more than half of Blinded by the Light ticket buyers were 50 or older.

In terms of CinemaScore grades, Good Boys and The Angry Birds Movie 2 earned a B+; Where'd You Go, Bernadette, a B; 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, a C+; and Blinded by the Light, an A-.

Aug. 18, 10:15 a.m. Updated with additional foreign numbers.