Five movies opened wide this weekend, but only one could be called a resounding success: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Good Boys. The R-Rated comedy debuted with a $21 million haul at the box office, which is not only good enough for first place, but it also gives Good Boys the highest-grossing opening weekend for an original comedy in all of 2019. Reviews helped propel the film (80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), in addition to a solid B+ Cinemascore.
What’s interesting about the success of the Good Boys opening is that it is so overwhelmingly seen as a “success.” Last year, the R-Rated Blockers opened with a nearly identical $20 million weekend, but at the time, that was seen as underwhelming. Why is Good Boys‘ opening seen as a success while Blockers was seen as a slight disappointment? It’s not because Blockers had a higher budget (both have around a $20 million budgets). Is it because Blockers was better reviewed? No, not really: It had an 83 percent on the Tomatometer compared to Boys’ 80 percent.
The difference is a box-office environment now in which a lot of comedies have been gobbled up by the streaming markets because in 2019 comedies aren’t expected to do as well in theaters because of all the misfires in the last few years (including Stuber, Rough Night, and Booksmart). The last time a comedy earned $100 million was 2017’s Girls Trip. When Blockers came out last year, there was still the expectation that comedies could do very well in theaters, but there have been so many failures in the last couple of years — including even Seth Rogen’s Long Shot — that when one musters up $20 million on its opening weekend now, that’s seen as a huge success.