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Box-Office Preview: 'Night School' to Laugh Past $30M in U.S. Debut

Friday - 28/09/2018 00:07
Elsewhere, the animated family film 'Smallfoot' could also have a big footprint, while Robert Redford's swan song 'The Old Man & the Gun' opens at the specialty box office.
Eli Joshua Adé/Universal Studios 'Night School
Eli Joshua Adé/Universal Studios 'Night School

Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish's raucous comedy Night School is set to ring out the September box office in style, along with Warner Bros.' animated family pic, Smallfoot.

Tracking suggests Night School will laugh past $30 million in its domestic debut. The film reunites director Malcolm D. Lee, producer Will Packer and Universal, the winning trio behind the 2017 box-office hit, Girls Trip. Night School has the added advantage of a friendlier PG-13 rating; Girls Trip was rated R.

The comedy follows a group of misfits who are forced to attend night school in order to pass their GED exams (Haddish plays their teacher). Rob Riggle, Taran Killam, Romany Malco, Keith David and Loretta Devine round out the cast. In addition to starring, Hart is among the producers.

Smallfoot is projected to have a solid footprint with a debut in the $25 million range. Family films often overperform, so there's always a chance the pic could give Night School a run for its money. And it can't hurt that the voice cast includes Channing Tatum and LeBron James.

Co-written and directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, Smallfoot follows a group of Yeti who encounter a human (neither can believe the other is real). James Corden, Zendaya, Common, Gina Rodriguez, Danny DeVito and Yara Shahidi also lend their voices.

CBS Films enters the fray with director Gregory Plotkin's pre-Halloween pic Hell Fest, which is tracking to open in the $5 million-$7 million range. The modestly budgeted slasher pic, distributed by Lionsgate, stars Amy Forsyth, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Reign Edwards and Tony Todd as a group of teens who are pursued by a killer at a horror-themed amusement park. One major problem: The rest of the patrons think the mayhem is all part of the show.

The fourth new film opening nationwide is Little Women, the seventh big-screen adaptation of the iconic novel about the March sisters. The indie film, from distributor Pinnacle Peak, hasn't generated much buzz and is tracking to earn $2 million-$3 million. Sarah Davenport, Allie Jennings, Lucas Grabeel, Ian Bohen and Lea Thompson star.

With awards season getting underway, a flurry of films open at the specialty box office. The bumper crop includes Fox Searchlight's The Old Man & the Gun, the last film Robert Redford says he will star in.

The critically acclaimed movie, directed by David Lowery and co-starring Sissy Spacek and Casey Affleck, tells the gritty tale of compulsive real-life bank robber Forrest Tucker, who escaped from prison 16 times over the course of a long career that ended when he was in his late 70s. Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Isiah Whitlock Jr., John David Washington, Tom Waits and Elisabeth Moss co-star.

Washington has double duty this weekend, between Old Man & the Gun and police shooting drama Monsters and Men, a new specialty offering from Neon and directed by first-time feature director Reinaldo Marcus Green. Monsters and Men also stars Anthony Ramos, Kelvin Harris Jr., Chante Adams, Rob Morgan, Nicole Beharie, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Cara Buono.

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