You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: Will Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Happytime Murders’ Dethrone ‘Crazy Rich Asians’?

The box office has been surprisingly strong this August, and now it’s up to Melissa McCarthy and a gaggle of raunchy puppets to keep the momentum going.

That’s the hope (for STX Entertainment, at least), as “The Happytime Murders” aims for a mid-teens opening when the black comedy launches across 3,224 locations this weekend. Analysts are comparing the result to Seth Rogen’s bawdy R-rated animated comedy “Sausage Party.” Rogen’s film became a massive box office hit, picking up $140 million off a $19 million production budget. “The Happytime Murders,” however, carries double the price tag, at $40 million.

“The Happytime Murders” is set in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles — a world where humans and puppets coexist — as McCarthy’s character, an LAPD detective, re-teams with her former puppet partner to solve a series of brutal murders. [Cue “SNL’s” Stefon voice] This movie has everything: Sex, offensive puppet jokes, murder, Melissa McCarthy snorting something through Twizzlers… At last, we finally get to see how puppets behave behind closed doors. Brian Henson, who ran herd on numerous “Muppets” movies, directed the R-rated pic, which also stars Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks.

The projected launch of around $13 million to $15 million would be a slow start for a McCarthy movie. Earlier this summer, “Life of the Party” delivered one of her lowest openings yet ($17.8 million). Though her last few movies have stumbled, McCarthy has long been a box office draw. Her highest grossing film to date is “Bridesmaids” ($288 million), while “Spy,” “The Heat,” and “Identity Thief” have all also earned over $100 million.

STX could use a hit. The studio has struggled in recent months, as Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty,” Mark Wahlberg’s “Mile 22,” and Shailene Woodley’s “Adrift” all suffered underwhelming results. It does seem to have a winner with the “Bad Moms” movies, as both titles in the franchise have pocketed over $100 million, and the studio claims it is more conservative with its advertising spending than legacy media companies.

Before it can take the domestic box office crown, “The Happytime Murders” will have to compete against two Warner Bros. titles. If “Crazy Rich Asians” remains strong, the romantic comedy should pick up around $10 million to $15 million in its sophomore frame. It launched last weekend with a better-than-expected $26 million for a five-day tally of $35 million. A sequel is already in the works. Meanwhile, shark thriller “The Meg” is also eyeing low-teens in its third outing. So far, the “Jaws” retread has made $83 million in North America and $318 million worldwide.

That leaves Global Road Entertainment’s “A.X.L.” as the final wide launch this weekend. Its prospects look bleak as the family film is on track to debut with low single-digits in 1,695 venues. That’s disastrous news for the beleaguered company. Earlier this week, Global Road’s lenders took control of the film division after the company failed to raise enough money to pay for future productions.

The movie’s title stands for Attack, Exploration, Logistics, referring to a code name that scientists gave to a top-secret robotic dog that was created by the military to protect soldiers. Alex Neustaedter portrays a teenage boy who encounters the dog, which represents the latest step in artificial intelligence. The cast also includes pop star Becky G, Alex MacNicoll, Dominc Rains,, and Thomas Jane. It’s the feature film debut of Oliver Daly.

In limited release, Sundance title “Searching” is bowing in nine locations. Shot from the point of view of phones and computer screens, it follows John Cho as he tries to find his missing teenage daughter, played by Michelle La. Bleecker Street is also launching “Papillion” in 520 locations. The drama, a remake of the 1973 film with Steven McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, features Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek as two convicts who escape from prison.


More Film

  • Hugh Jackman Sings Happy Birthday to

    Hugh Jackman Leads Massive One-Man Show Crowd in 'Happy Birthday' for Ian McKellen

    Hugh Jackman may have had to skip Ian McKellen’s birthday party to perform his one-man show, “The Man, The Music, The Show,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t celebrate his “X-Men” co-star’s 80th. Jackman took a moment at the Manchester Arena Saturday to lead the sold-out audience — some 50,000 strong — in a rendition [...]

  • Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the

    Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the Movies Needed Every Inch of the Big Screen

    In the May 24 edition of The New York Times, there was a column by Timothy Egan, entitled “The Comeback of the Century: Why the Book Endures, Even in an Era of Disposable Digital Culture,” that celebrated those things that come between two hard covers as a larger phenomenon than mere nostalgia. The column keyed [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Dominates International Box Office With $121 Million

    Disney’s “Aladdin” is showing plenty of worldwide drawing power with $121 million overseas for the weekend, opening in first place in nearly all international markets. The reboot of the 1992 animated classic has received strong family attendance with a significant gain on Saturday and Sunday. China leads the way with an estimated $18.7 million for [...]

  • Aladdin

    Box Office: 'Aladdin' Taking Flight With $105 Million in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is flying high with an estimated $105 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend. It’s the sixth-highest Memorial Day weekend total ever, topping the 2011 mark of $103.4 million for “The Hangover Part II.” The top total came in 2007, when “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” [...]

  • Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special

    Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special Mention Winner ‘Monster God’

    CANNES – An exploration of the ramifications of God, “Monster God,” from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, took a Special Mention – an effective runner’s up prize – on Saturday night at this year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. It’s not difficult to see why, especially when jury president Claire Denis own films’ power resists [...]

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content