‘Good Boys’ Tops Box Office, Bringing Hope For Original Comedies

IndieWire | 8/18/2019 | Staff
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Universal is shaking off the damage from pulling “The Hunt” from release, but it can take comfort in the surprise showing of R-rated comedy “Good Boys.” Not only is it the first original film to reach number one since “Us” in March (another Universal title), but it also shows the depth of the studio’s lower-budget slate.

“Good Boys” pushed a Universal franchise, “Hobbs & Shaw,” from the top spot, and created the rare case when a non-Disney studio held the top two spots. The week also came with four new wide releases: Two were sequels (“The Angry Birds Movie 2” and “47 Meters Down: Uncaged”), both of which failed to do more than mediocre business. “Blinded By the Light” and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” both targeted older audiences and struggled to gain attention, though the former — a Bruce Springsteen-inspired crowd pleaser — seemed to show initial word-of-mouth appeal.

Saturday - Totals - Films - Estimates - Weekend

A stronger than expected Saturday, which boosted the totals of most films from initial estimates, pushed initial weekend totals to a little under $120 million. However, this weekend still reflects an estimated $10 million shortfall against last year. The year-over-year gap stands at 7.5%, or over $600 million.

“Good Boys,” like the three other biggest non-franchise domestic successes this year (“Us,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Rocket Man”) is R-rated. Studios dodge this rating for most top budget, mass-audience blockbusters; it’s possible that the rating helps set these films apart.

Comedies - Boys - Tradition - Porky - Universal

R-rated comedies featuring underage boys is a theatrical tradition that goes back to “Porky’s” in 1981. (Universal’s own 1999 “American Pie” became a franchise in its own right.) Here, “Good Boys” includes spying on a sexy neighbor, viewing internet porn in preparation for a kissing party, and other similar exploits; the difference here is that the kids are pre-teens.

Produced for $20 million, it’s the...
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