'Hobbs & Shaw' Repeats at No. 1 as 'The Kitchen' Gets Cooked at Box Office

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” leads new releases while “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” reaches $100 million

Universal

Though this August box office weekend didn’t bring a major opening, there were plenty of new releases and holdovers keeping analysts busy. Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” led them all again with $25 million grossed in its second weekend, pushing the “Fast & Furious” spinoff to a 10-day domestic total of $108 million.

That result for the “Fast & Furious” spinoff is a 58% drop from its $60 million opening. While “Fate and the Furious” had a similar drop from its $98 million opening two years ago, “Hobbs & Shaw” is now falling behind the pace of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.”

That Tom Cruise action film had a similar start to “Hobbs & Shaw,” opening in late July to a $60 million opening last year but held on better with just a 42% drop in its second weekend. “Hobbs & Shaw” is still looking to its release in China in two weeks, hoping to continue “Fast & Furious”‘ winning streak in that country.

Below “Hobbs & Shaw” were a quartet of wide releases from major studios, with one pair finding some success while the other pair flopped. Of the flops, the biggest disappointment was Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Kitchen,” which opened to just $5.5 million from 2,745 screens.

That result is the lowest wide opening for lead stars Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish. McCarthy was following up her Oscar-nominated performance in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” with another dramatic role but has now hit a new career box office low for the second straight year. Her previous low came just 12 months ago with the panned comedy “The Happytime Murders,” which had a $9.5 million opening. “The Kitchen” was similarly panned by critics with a 21% Rotten Tomatoes score while audiences gave it a B- on CinemaScore.

“The Kitchen” is finishing below Disney/Fox’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” which had been picked by analysts to have the lowest wide opening prior to the weekend. While it dodged that dubious distinction, “Racing in the Rain” is still disappointing with an $8.1 million opening from 2,765 screens, continuing what has been a terrible 2019 box office for Fox both before and after its acquisition by Disney.

The winners were Lionsgate/CBS Films/eOne’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” which was the top new release with a $20 million opening from 3,135 screens, and Paramount’s “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” which is opening to $17 million from 3,735 screens.

“Scary Stories” has done well with critics with an 80% Rotten Tomatoes score, but wasn’t able to do particularly well with audiences with a C on CinemaScore and a 3/5 on Postrak. This will likely mean that this horror film with a $28 million budget will have a large dropoff in the coming weekend.

But it’s still a win for Lionsgate, which had its biggest opening in over a year earlier this summer with “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” and now has three films with openings of over $20 million having none of their films hit that mark in 2018. It also ties as the largest opening weekend for the soon-to-be-defunct CBS Films, which will be shuttered in anticipation of CBS and Viacom’s upcoming merger.

“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” was more mixed in its fortunes. It faced stiff competition for young adult and female audiences from “Scary Stories” while family audiences were being split off by “The Lion King,” which outperformed “Dora” in its fourth weekend with $20 million. With a $17 million start against a $49 million budget, “Dora” will need help from overseas to stay out of the red.

The good news is that reception has been positive with an 81% RT score and an A on CinemaScore, which could help keep family audiences coming in during the final weeks of summer.

More to come…

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