Night School won the box office in its opening weekend, but its haul was lower than director Malcolm D. Lee's last film, Girls Trip. Lee reunited with his Girls Trip breakout star Tiffany Haddish on the new comedy, which co-stars Kevin Hart as a troublesome adult attempting to get his GED. While the combination of the two lead actors had the potential to make a highly entertaining film, Night School unfortunately is something of a missed opportunity. Critics found it to be a somewhat bland and forgettable entry in the genre, mainly due to a bloated script.
Still, Universal seemed to have timed the release of Night School just right. This September has been a relatively slow month at the box office, with movies like The Predator and The House With a Clock In Its Walls winning weekends with grosses in the mid-$20 millions. With a lack of competition, Night School had a solid chance to come out on top, and that's exactly what happened.
Related: Watch The Night School Trailer
Per Box Office Mojo, Night School earned $28 million in its first three days domestically, nearly matching its $29 million production budget. While that was enough to secure the #1 position, it's not an overly impressive performance. Night School opened well below recent Hart vehicles like Central Intelligence ($35.5 million) and Ride Along 2 ($35.2 million). It also failed to equal Girls Trip's opening of $31.2 million.
It'll be interesting to see how Night School holds up over the course of its theatrical run. The next couple of weeks see the premieres of several high-profile offerings, such as awards contenders A Star is Born and First Man, plus presumed record-breaker Venom. A middling comedy like Night School may fall by the wayside as it tries to stand out against major newcomers, though it does have something working in its favor. It'll be the only big comedy on the market until Johnny English Strikes Again opens at the end of October, so viewers looking for a laugh won't have many other options to choose from. Nobody's expecting Night School to turn things around and become a massive hit, but fans of the genre may help it coast to profitability.
Elsewhere in the top five, new animated movie Smallfoot came in second with $23 million. The family film boasted a star-studded voice cast and received generally positive reviews, helping it seem more appealing for the target demographic. The top of the charts was primarily covered by holdovers, with House With a Clock In Its Walls ($12.5 million), A Simple Favor ($6.6 million), and The Nun ($5.4 million) rounding things out.
Source: Box Office Mojo
- Night School (2018) release date: Sep 28, 2018