'Night School' & 'Smallfoot' Top Weekend, Capping Off a Strong September at the Box Office
by Brad Brevet
September 30, 2018
Universal topped the weekend box office for the second weekend in a row, this time with the comedy Night School starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. At the same time Warner Bros.'s animated feature Smallfoot finished in the runner-up position while the studio's horror hit The Nun became the highest grossing international and worldwide release in the Conjuring universe. All-in-all the weekend top twelve fell a bit shy of Mojo's pre-weekend expectations but this weekend did provide more than enough in terms of box office receipts to help deliver the second largest September on record behind last year's record breaking grosses.
Universal's PG-13 comedy Night School from producer Will Packer topped the weekend chart with an estimated $28 million. While short of BoxOfficeMojo's pre-weekend forecast, this is a solid start for the $29 million production, which received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, a grade contrary to the mixed reviews from critics. Additionally, the film played to an audience that was split 50-50 male-to-female and of the overall audience, 59% was aged 25 or older.
How the film plays from here, however, will be interesting. Looking at past releases starring Hart, the opening is ahead of 2014's About Last Night ($25.6m opening) and just behind Think Like a Man Too ($29.2m opening). About Last Night, however, could only manage a 1.9x multiplier and Think Like a Man Too just 2.23x, which would suggest a run anywhere from $53-62 million if Night School follows suit.
Internationally, Night School brought in an estimated $5.5 million from 19 markets including a $2 million debut in the UK and a $1.2 million opening in Australia. The film will open in Spain in mid-October followed by openings in Italy (Nov 8), Mexico (Nov 9), Germany (Nov 15), Russia (Nov 29), France (Dec 5) and Brazil (Dec 20).
In second is Warner Bros.'s animated title Smallfoot with a performance pretty much spot on expectations, pulling in an estimated $23 million for the three-day. Heading into the weekend the studio was anticipating a performance right around $20-25 million with the obvious comp being WB's 2016 animated feature Storks, which opened with $21.3 million in late September before finishing with $72.6 million domestically. Smallfoot received a "A-" CinemaScore and played to an audience that was 55% female with 52% of the overall audience coming in aged 25 years or older.
Internationally, Smallfoot opened in 49 markets this weekend with an estimated $14 million, pushing the film's overseas cume to $15.6 million after opening in just a couple markets last weekend. Leading the way was Mexico with an estimated $3.6 million followed by Australia with $1.4 million and Brazil with $1.3 million. The film opens in Italy next weekend followed by openings in Spain (Oct 11), Germany (Oct 11), UK (Oct 12), Japan (Oct 12), France (Oct 17), China (Oct 19) and Russia (Oct 25).
Universal also landed in third with last weekend's number one pic The House With a Clock in Its Walls, which dipped 53% for an estimated $12.5 million sophomore frame, putting the film's domestic gross just shy of $45 million after ten days.
Lionsgate's A Simple Favor continues its rock solid performance, dipping just 36% in its third weekend for an estimated $6.6 million. The film's domestic cume now stands at $43 million after 17 days in release, which puts it just a couple million shy of where star Blake Lively's The Shallows was at the same point before finishing with over $55 million domestically.
Rounding out the top five is WB's The Nun with an estimated $5.4 million as it enters its fourth weekend in release. The film's domestic box office now stands at $109 million, but the story doesn't end there. The Nun brought in another $16.2 million overseas, pushing the film's international cume to $221 million for a global tally topping $330 million. The result makes The Nun the highest grossing film in the Conjuring universe internationally and globally.
Just outside the top five is Lionsgate's release of CBS Films's horror-thriller Hell Fest, which debuted with an estimated $5.075 million. The performance is on the higher end of expectations for the $5.5 million production. The film received a "C" CinemaScore from opening day audiences of which were 53% female and 49% of the overall audience was aged 25 years or older.
WB's Crazy Rich Asians added an estimated $4.15 million to its domestic total, which now stands at $165.7 million. This pushes the film past The Proposal making it the sixth highest grossing romantic comedy of all-time.
Outside the top ten we find Pinnacle Peak's Little Women debuting with an estimated $747,000 from 643 locations.
Leading the charge in limited release, National Geographic's Free Solo delivered an estimated $300,804 from four locations for a chart-topping $75,201 per theater average. The performance delivers the highest opening per theater average of 2018 and the best ever opening per theater average for a documentary, besting 2006's Inconvenient Truth ($70,333 PTA). Next weekend the film will add 27 screens in markets such as DC, Boston, Dallas, San Diego, Minneapolis and Phoenix, while expanding over into over 100 theaters in week three.
Fox Searchlight's The Old Man & the Gun starring Robert Redford, in what the actor says will be his final screen performance, brought in an estimated $150,000 from five theaters ($30,000 PTA). The film will add eight more markets next weekend (Austin TX., Dallas, Boston, Washington DC, Toronto, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Chicago) as well as expand further in New York and Los Angeles, anticipating a theater count around 35-40 locations.
Additional limited releases include Neon's Monsters and Men finished with an estimated $130,979 from 18 locations ($7,277 PTA); Abramorama's documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. delivered an estimated $51,373 from two theaters; The Orchard's All About Nina brought in $30,614 from four locations ($7,654 PTA); IFC's Black '47 debuted with $9,006 from one theater; and El Tigre's 306 Hollywood opened with an estimated $8,150 at the Quad Cinema in New York.
Next weekend could be a big one with the release of Venom in over 4,000 locations as it looks to kick off October with what could be a record breaking opening for the month. Additionally, Warner Bros. will be looking for a great start for A Star is Born, which has already energized the festival circuit and will debut in over 3,500 theaters as it kicks off what it hopes will be a long awards season run. Also, in limited release, Fox will debut The Hate U Give in 34 locations and Universal will be releasing Loving Pablo into 10 theaters.
You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
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