'Night School' Debuts Atop Box Office Despite Lackluster Reviews
Universal Pictures

The comedy starring Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart beats animated family movie 'Smallfoot' with an estimated $28 million opening gross.

AceShowbiz - "Night School" has shot to the top of this week's domestic movie competition. The adult-education comedy starring Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart earned an estimated $28 million on its debut weekend, beating out fellow new release "Smallfoot" and knocking out last week's champion "The House with a Clock in Its Walls".

The movie's opening gross is within the projected revenue of around $25 million to $30 million from Friday to Sunday. It is slightly below the opening gross of Haddish's 2017 movie "Girls Trip" ($31.2 million) and lower than Hart's 2016 movies "Central Intelligence" ($35.5 million) and "Ride Along 2" ($35.2 million) as well as his 2015 film "Get Hard" ($33.8 million). The pic was reportedly made on a $29 million budget.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee who directed Haddish in "Girls Trip", "Night School" didn't receive the same love as the 2017 movie. It holds an approval rating of 30% based on 90 reviews, with an average rating of 4.4/10. Still, audience gave the movie an average grade of A-.

Universal domestic distribution chief Jim Orr said of the movie's success formula, "Working with some of the funniest comedic talent in the business today with Kevin and Tiffany, pairing them with two filmmakers at the top of their game in Malcolm and Will [Packet, producer], and you have a movie that checks all of the boxes for which audiences clearly turned out."

"Smallfoot" stood no chance of taking the first place, despite being projected to earn around $25 million to $30 million on Friday to Sunday. Warner Bros.' animated movie came below projection with approximately $23 million to enter the chart at No. 2.

Featuring the voice of Channing Tatum, James Corden, Common, LeBron James and Zendaya Coleman, the family movie tells the story of legendary creature Yeti from a different point of view. It generated mixed to positive reviews, with audience giving it an A-minus CinemaScore.

"The House with a Clock in Its Walls" is pushed down to No. 3 with approximately $12.5 million. "A Simple Favor" also dropped two spots to No. 4 with an estimated $6.6 million. Rounding out the top five is "The Nun", which added an estimated $5.4 million to its domestic cume for a current domestic total of $109 million. It has grossed $330 million worldwide so far.

Top Ten Movies at Weekend Box Office for Sept. 28-30:
  1. "Night School" - $28 million
  2. "Smallfoot" - $23 million
  3. "The House with a Clock in Its Walls" - $12.5 million
  4. "A Simple Favor" - $6.6 million
  5. "The Nun" - $5.4 million
  6. "Hell Fest" - $5.1 million
  7. "Crazy Rich Asians" - $4.2 million
  8. "The Predator" - $3.7 million
  9. "White Boy Rick" - $2.4 million
  10. "Peppermint" - $1.8 million

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