“Scary Stories”, “Dora” Take Aim at “Hobbs & Shaw” in Crowded Weekend

Going into this weekend the box office was anybody’s guess. Six new wide-release films were on the docket, “The Lion King” was approaching the live-action remake record, and “Hobbs & Shaw” was ruling the roost looking to match the longest streak of consecutive two-week repeat box office winners since 2002. A slew of scenarios were being drawn up by industry professionals with some predicting “Hobbs & Shaw” would repeat, others saying “The Lion King” would return to the top, and some calling for upsets from newcomers. Others questioned which newcomers would earn the most attention with “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” projected to top the Guillermo del Toro produced “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by some while others gave “Scary Stories’ the edge. It was probably one of the most exciting box office finishes of 2019 so far so let’s see if the finish was as fun as the race in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.


As expected, “Hobbs & Shaw” earned another week at the top making it the fourth consecutive movie to earn two straight weekends as the number one film domestically. It’s the first time in 17 years we’ve seen this happen and it comes right after a seven-week run of consecutive different box office winners in one of the most competitive box office years in recent memory, although not all of these chart toppers have been true success stories. “Hobbs & Shaw” took in $25.4 million domestically in its sophomore weekend bringing its American total to $108.5 million. Internationally it scored another $60.8 million bringing its global tally to $332 million after two weekends. The “Fast & Furious” spin-off still has two significant foreign markets to hit as it will roll out in Korea and China over the next few weeks.


Coming in second is the first newcomer of the weekend, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”. Based on the children’s horror books from the late 80s and early 90s, “Scary Stories” received a surprising middle of the road response from viewers but was a critical success and overperformed in a weekend where many thought it would be overshadowed. “Scary Stories” earned $20.8 million domestically in its debut, more than its main competition “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” which scored a $17 million debut and landed fourth. The live-action adaptation of the Nickelodeon children’s series received positive reviews from both critics and fans but didn’t carry enough interest to score the $20 million-plus weekend some estimates had for its debut. While I chose to skip “Dora” I did view “Scary Stories” and you can read my review of the film by clicking here.


Smack dab in between the town newcomers was “The Lion King” in third which created some issues with technicalities. While “The Lion King” is considered a “live action” remake its heavy use of CGI has many calling it a live-action and animation hybrid of sorts. If you consider it an animated feature, then it has just topped “Frozen” as the highest grossing animated film of all time. On the other hand if you consider it a true live-action re-imagining of Disney’s classic 90s film it is now the highest grossing Disney live-action remake reaching $1.334 billion worldwide over the weekend and dethroning the “Beauty and the Beast” remake on that list. Looking at the final spot in the top five we find Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” reaching a domestic take of over $100 million.


Outside the top ten we find a trio of newcomers along with two films that have been top five staples for the last few weeks. Disney’s Fox release of “The Art of Racing in the Rain” was another underwhelming offering from the recently acquired studio earning a lower-than-expected $8.1 million debut. Warner Bros also suffered a loss with the release of their female-led comic adaptation “The Kitchen” which flopped with both critics and fans earning less that 25% on Rotten Tomatoes and only $5.5 million in its debut. “Spider-Man: Far from Home” and “Toy Story 4” both fell hard out of the top five for the first time back to eighth and ninth respectively while “Bring the Soul: The Movie”, a concert movie featuring South Korean boy band BTS, surprised by debuting in tenth. While it continues to impress, the crowded weekend was too much for “The Farewell” which fell out of the top ten as did “Aladdin”, “Crawl” and “Yesterday” while “Annabelle Comes Home” completely disappeared from the chart altogether. Outside the top ten was the final wide-release newcomer “Brian Banks”. The biographical drama was projected to enter the top ten at the weekends start but could only muster up a $2.1 million debut in 1,240 theaters. I still gave it a chance and you can read my review of the film here.


After one busy weekend we have another one on the way with yet another FIVE wide-release films coming out this weekend starting with the early debut of “Angry Birds 2”. The animated sequel is expected to lead the weekend ending “Hobbs & Shaw’s” hold at the top and could set the stage for the FIFTH two-weekend winner in a row if it carry’s enough steam. Also on the docket are “47 Meters Down: Uncaged”, “Blinded by the Light”, “Good Boys”, and Where’d You Go Bernadette” while several limited release features are expected to expand including “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and “Luce”. Should be fun to see how it all shakes out this time next week. Stay tuned!

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