‘Hobbs and Shaw’ Remain In the Top Spot

You know it is August when professional football begins its exhibition season, the sun begins to set before eight pm (at least it does here in the Northeast) and kids get ready to head back to school. August is also the time when the movie industry begins to unload less-than-desirable product into the marketplace in the hopes of making a quick buck.

That is exactly what happened this weekend as a quintet of films –Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Kitchen and Brian Banks– all opened in wide release. Of that group, only Scary Stories –and to a lesser extent- Dora made any sort of box office impact. Even then, the numbers were nothing to write home about.

Middling-to-weak starts were all that was needed for Universal’s Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw to remain the number one film in the country. The spinoff revved 58% less in its second weekend on 4,344 screens, where it made an estimated $25.4 million. After ten days, the $200 million action comedy has made an estimated $108.5 million. Hobbs should remain a popular late summer choice with audiences, which could help it drive off with $160-165 million by summer’s end. Internationally, Hobbs and Shaw has earned $224 million.

Scaring up decent business in second place was Lionsgate’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark with an estimated $20.8 million from 3,135 theaters. The PG-13 horror feature appeared to be a bigger hit with the critics than it was the public, however. While Stories scored an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 62/100 on Metacritic, the film was bestowed with a middling “C” grade on CinemaScore.

That mixed feedback from ticket buyers may already be having an effect on Stories‘ box office. After scoring the number one spot on Friday, Scary fell 21% on Saturday and 25% on Sunday.

Continuing to show plenty of life its fourth weekend, Disney’s The Lion King occupied third place with an estimated $20 million from 4,220 theaters. Down 48%, the Jon Favreau blockbuster has commanded $473.1 million so far in domestic sales. King should cross the $500 million milestone within the next two weeks. Internationally, The Lion King has made off with $861.5 million.

With kids heading back to school and parents reaching the breaking point on family films, the month of August is rarely the best time to release new product aimed at the kiddie market. Paramount should know this, but that didn’t stop them from unleashing the new Dora and the Lost City of Gold into 3,735 theaters this weekend, where it found a middling $17 million.

The $49 million live action take on the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon character scored decent notices from the press and public, which could turn it into a mid-sized late summer hit. Dora scored a 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 63/100 on Metacritic and an encouraging “A” from viewers on CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top five was Sony’s Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood with an estimated $11.6 million from 3,507 theaters, a 42% decrease in business from one week ago. With $100.3 million earned so far, the ninth film from Quentin Tarantino became the filmmaker’s fourth production to hit that nine-figure milestone. Rick, Sharon and Cliff are looking to wind down around $130 million in ticket sales. Opening overseas this weekend, Hollywood brought in an estimated $7.7 million.

  1. The Art of Racing In the Rain (Fox) $8.1 million

Bad reviews and a marketing campaign better suited for the Lifetime Channel -Kevin Costner voicing a dog. Seriously? – helped torpedo the latest offering from 20thCentury Mouse. The film did score an “A-“ on CinemaScore, which may help the film leg it out until Labor Day.

  1. The Kitchen (Warner Brothers) $5.5 million

Melissa McCarthy should avoid releasing films in the month of August.

  1. Spider-Man: Far From Home (Sony) $5.3 million (-33%); $371 million
  2. Toy Story 4 (Disney) $4.4 million (-40%); $419.5 million
  3. Bring the Soul: The Movie (Trafalgar) $2.3 million; $4.4 million

Another group of films flood into theaters starting on Tuesday when Sony releases Angry Birds 2. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, Blinded By the Light, Good Boys and Where’d You Go, Bernadette will join those furious fowls in your local theater starting next Friday.

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