The Associated Press
From the guys that brought you “Superbad”, three sixth grade boys go on an epic journey as they try to make it to a long-awaited party.
NEW YORK – The R-rated comedy, left for dead by some Hollywood studios, has again reached No.1 at the box office, thanks to the raunchy coming-of-age tale “Good Boys,” about a trio of 12-year-olds on a crude misadventure.
“Good Boys” surpassed expectations to debut with $21 million for the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, dethroning the “Fast & Furious” spinoff “Hobbs & Shaw,” which slid to second with $14.1 million in its third weekend. Not since Melissa McCarthy’s “The Boss” came in No. 1 back in 2016 has an R-rated comedy topped the North American box office.
“This is like a unicorn sighting,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.
In recent years, R-rated horror has largely taken the place of R-rated comedy at the box office, as Hollywood has increasingly ceded the genre to TV and streaming services.
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“Good Boys” broke out of a crowded late-summer field of new releases. The weekend’s other new widely released films – the animated sequel “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” the shark attack sequel “47 Meters Down: Uncaged,” the Bruce Springsteen-inspired drama “Blinded by the Light” and Richard Linklater’s Cate Blanchett-led “Where’d You Go Bernadette” – all fizzled.
“Good Boys” rode a buzzy premiere at South By Southwest, mostly positive reviews (80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and the imprimatur of producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (“Good Boys” is much like a tween version of “Superbad”) to notch the best opening for an original comedy this year.
“Good Boys” stars Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon as sixth graders trying to make it to their first kissing party.
Jim Orr, distribution chief for Universal, credits the film’s clever marketing for the film’s performance.
“This is a genre that is very difficult to do and we’re having great success as a studio with a very diverse slate,” Orr says. “One of the common denominators there is our marketing department. They just overdeliver constantly with a broad range of films.”
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The challenge of “Good Boys” was to turn out moviegoers older than the movie’s pipsqueak protagonists, and it did. Only 7% of the audience was under age 18, though 41% was under 25. Crowds split evenly between the sexes: 52% male, 48% female.
The release strategies behind some of the weekend’s other new films were harder to discern.
“The Angry Birds Movie 2,” released after the start of school in parts of the U.S., opened with a paltry $10.5 million domestically, though it added $19.4 million internationally. It didn’t come close to the $38.2 million domestic debut of the first installment in 2016, despite notably better reviews (76% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).
“47 Meters Down: Uncaged” also showed little bite. It debuted with $9 million, a slight downtick from the $11.2 million the first one opened with in 2017.
Festival film “Blinded by the Light” took in $4.5 million from more than 2,300 locations. The film, which has been warmly reviewed, is about a British-Pakistani teen growing up in 1980s England whose life is transformed after he discovers Springsteen.
And “Where’d You Go Bernadette” grossed $3.5 million from 2,400 locations. Based on Maria Semple’s 2012 comic novel, Linklater’s film earned lukewarm reviews for its tale of a missing mother (Blanchett).
Rounding out the rest of the top five: Disney’s photorealistic “The Lion King” held in third place with $11.9 million in its fifth week, while “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” fell to fifth with $10.1 million in its second week.
With two weeks to go, the overall summer movie season is running 1.9% behind the pace of last summer, according to Comscore.
Final numbers are expected Monday.
Contributing: Kim Willis
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