You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: Melissa McCarthy and ‘The Boss’ Narrowly Beat ‘Batman v Superman’

Melissa McCarthy’s star power lifted “The Boss” to an estimated $23.5 million opening weekend despite bad reviews and rough word-of-mouth for the R-rated comedy.

If those projections hold, it will be enough to narrowly topple “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” from first place at the weekend box office. As it stands, the superhero match-up fell just short of retaining the top slot, earning  $23.4 million and bringing its total after three weeks to $296.7 million. Given that this is essentially a statistical dead heat, it is possible that those positions could shift once final numbers roll in on Monday morning.

With “Spy,” “Identity Thief” and now “The Boss,” McCarthy has become one of the most reliable comic draws in the movie business.

“She has a hot streak going like no other comedian, male or female, working today,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “You have to consider the lineage of Eddie Murphy in the ’80s, Jim Carrey in the ’90s and Adam Sandler in the aughts. She is their heir apparent.”

Despite McCarthy’s popularity, “The Boss” could have trouble showing endurance. The film’s middling C+ CinemaScore signals that audiences agree with critics that the picture is flawed. The film is a collaboration between McCarthy and her husband, the director and co-writer Ben Falcone, who previously teamed on 2014’s “Tammy.” It centers on a business icon who is brought low after she is convicted of insider trading. Universal distributed the $29 million production across 3,480 theaters.

McCarthy is the film’s big draw, with 76% of ticket buyers surveyed reporting that they turned out to see the comedian. Women comprised 67% of the audience, with 51% of the opening crowd clocking in over the age of 35.

“She is absolutely a bankable movie star,” said Nick Carpou, president of domestic distribution at Universal. “It’s another number one opening for her.”

The weekend’s other new release, STX Entertainment’s “Hardcore Henry,” struggled to break through, earning a feeble $5.1 million from 3,015 theaters for a fifth place finish. The studio acquired the point-of-view thriller in a bidding war at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, paying a reported $10 million for the rights. The opening weekend crowd drew heavily from the gamer set, with 72% of ticket buyers saying they played first-person shooter video games such as “Call of Duty” and “Halo.”

Disney’s “Zootopia” scored a third place finish with roughly $14.5 million, bringing its total to $296.2 million after six weeks in theaters, while Universal’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” nabbed fourth place with $6.4 million, taking its total to $46.7 million after three weeks of release.

“Batman v Superman” has been something of a disappointment, given that it is likely to fall short of hitting $1 billion globally — the line that truly elite blockbusters have to cross to join a rarefied club. However, it has done better than some major comic-book movies. This weekend, it eclipsed “Man of Steel” ($291 million) on a domestic basis and it should pass $300 million stateside at some point this week.

“We’re on track to win the week three weeks in a row,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. distribution executive vice president.

Whatever the final outcome, neither “The Boss” nor “Batman v Superman” seem likely to extend their rule into next weekend. That’s when Disney releases a live-action version of “The Jungle Book.” Bolstered by good notices and Disney’s marketing prowess, the fresh spin on Rudyard Kipling’s story of the man cub, should hum “The Bear Necessities” all the way to the bank.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • CJ-CGV Cinemas

    CJ CGV Sells $286 Million Stake in Asian Cinema Businesses

    CJ CGV, the Korean movie theaters giant, is to raise $286 million from the sale of a slice of its Indonesian, Vietnamese and Chinese businesses. The company, which has its own stock market listing and is affiliated to the CJ Group, which includes CJ E&M and CJ Entertainment, said this week that it had sold [...]

  • Taiwanese director Fu Yue

    China, Taiwan in Film Awards Face-off With Roosters, Horses Scheduled on Same Day

    Despite rising political antagonism, China and Taiwan have for years been able to put aside their differences for a night of shared glitz and glamour at the annual Taipei-based Golden Horse Awards, known as Asia’s Oscars. But with cross-strait relations at a nadir, that’s about to change.  Chinese-language cinema is set for a showdown the [...]

  • Julia Roberts Harriet Tubman

    Studio Exec Suggested Julia Roberts Play Harriet Tubman, 'Harriet' Screenwriter Says

    Multi-talented multi-hyphenate Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ biopic “Harriet.” But according to “Harriet’s” screenwriter, Gregory Allen Howard, Julia Roberts — yes, white woman Julia Roberts — was once suggested by a studio executive to play the role. In a Q&A for “Harriet” studio Focus Features as well as a piece for the [...]

  • Atlantics

    Variety Names 10 Directors to Watch for 2020

    Before film critics start summing up the present year at the movies with a deluge of Top 10 lists, Variety gazes into the medium’s future by announcing its annual 10 Directors to Watch — a lineup of filmmaking talents who’ve stood out on the recent festival circuit, or whose movies will soon be hitting screens [...]

  • Napa Valley Film Festival Winners: 'Lucky

    'Lucky Grandma' Wins Napa Valley Film Festival Narrative Feature Prize

    “Lucky Grandma,” “The Remix: Hip Hop in Fashion” and “The Nomads” were among the winners of the Napa Valley Film Festival, which ran Nov. 13-17 in various towns in the valley. The winner of the narrative feature was “Lucky Grandma,” presented by ZD Wines, which won a $10,000 cash prize, courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley. [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    Brad Pitt's 'Ad Astra' to Blast Off in China in December

    The Brad Pitt sci-fi blockbuster “Ad Astra” is set to take off in Chinese theaters Dec. 6, more than two months after its U.S. launch. Directed, co-written and produced by James Gray (“The Lost City of Z,” “Two Lovers”), the thriller also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Ruth Negga. Pitt plays [...]

  • Fred Wolf to Direct 'Love 40'

    Film News Roundup: Fred Wolf to Direct Tennis Rom-Com 'Love 40'

    In today’s film news roundup, Fred Wolf is directing a romantic comedy in New York; Leah Remini, Chinoye Chukwu, Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang receive honors; and the topless bar documentary “Red Dog” finds a home. ‘LOVE 40’ Bluewater Lane Productions has brought on Fred Wolf to co-write and direct the romantic comedy “Love 40,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content