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‘Good Boys’ movie has surprise box office win despite R-rating

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Universal had a tough last week as it had to navigate the blowback following the decision to not release the violent thriller “The Hunt” following the multiple mass shootings in early August. But this week will certainly be better as the studio has pulled off something that has become rarer in the theatrical space: having a hit comedy.

In an era where most comedies are moving to streaming services, as the conventional wisdom is audiences aren’t going to theaters anymore to see them (especially R-rated ones), most weren’t expecting much from the Seth Rogen-produced comedy “Good Boys” this weekend.

But the Universal release shocked the industry as this raunchy comedy about three sixth grade boys’ journey to a party (and in the process unwittingly carrying drugs and stumbling into the sex room of one of their parents’) came in first at the domestic box office with an estimated $21 million (already making back its production budget of $20 million).

That’s the best opening for an original comedy since last year’s Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish film “Night School” ($27.2 million). That movie went on to make over $100 million worldwide and was only made for $29 million.

Read more: We read “The Hunt” script and it isn’t about liberal elites hunting “deplorables,” but there are lines that could anger Trump and his supporters

“Good Boys” and “Night School” also have something else in common, they were both made by Universal. In fact, in the past few years, it’s Universal that has figured out what audiences want in a comedy. The studio also was responsible for popular comedies “Blockers” (2018) and “Girls Trip” (2017). “Good Boys” is the first R-rated comedy to top the domestic box office since 2016’s “The Boss.” Yes, also a Universal release.

But what makes the “Good Boys” win even more remarkable is it was done with zero star power. The three leads were practically unknown outside of Jacob Tremblay, who is likely best known for starring opposite Brie Larson in 2015’s indie “Room.”

“Good Boys” joins fellow Universal release “Us” as the only non-sequel/franchise movies to open number one at the domestic box office in 2019.

In a year dominated by Disney, Universal has recently flexed its muscles as its movies have topped the domestic box office the last three weekends. Before “Good Boys,” “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw” topped the last two weekends.

“Hobbs and Shaw” came in second place this weekend with $14.1 million. It now had a domestic cume of $134 million and a global total of $437 million. For the third consecutive weekend “Hobbs and Shaw” is number one at the global box office.

While over at Sony, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” the highest-grossing movie all-time for the franchise, has hit another milestone as it is now the all-time highest-grossing movie at the studio. On Sunday it surpasses $1.108 billion at the global box office to pass previous studio record-holder “Skyfall.”

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