Melissa McCarthy‘s upcoming R-rated comedy “The Boss” has a solid shot at dethroning “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” when it opens in 3,481 theaters this weekend, according to analysts.
Turnout for the Henry Cavill-Ben Affleck superhero saga is expected to drop by half after suffering a massive decline of 69.1 percent in its second weekend. It’s projected to earn less than half of its $51.3 million from last weekend.
And “The Boss,” in which McCarthy plays a disgraced industry titan who tries to redeem her reputation by building a brownie empire, is looking to open in the low $20 million range. That’s on par with the actress’ recent box office hits, including last year’s “Spy,” which opened to $29 million, and “Tammy” which debuted to $21.6 million in 2014.
The weekend’s other wide opener, STX Entertainment’s “Hardcore Henry,” is projected to rake in $7 million to $9 million. However, tracking for the film shot entirely with a GoPro has been difficult as it essentially establishes a new movie-experience genre. Reviews for the film have been good, however, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 81 percent.
And Fox Searchlight is opening the Jake Gyllenhaal drama “Demolition” wide this weekend.
Below are five reasons why “The Boss” might tell “Batman v Superman,” “You’re fired.”
1) McCarthy Doesn’t Need Good Reviews
The actress’ recent track record indicates that McCarthy doesn’t need critics on her side to successfully open a film. “Tammy” and “Identity Thief” had bad reviews — the former scored 23 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a C+ on CinemaScore, but still grossed $21.6 million on its opening weekend and $84.5 million cumulatively. “Identity Thief” scored 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a B on CinemaScore, but still debuted to $34.5 million and earned a lifetime gross of $134 million.
“Melissa doesn’t need critics in her back pocket like ‘Batman v Superman’ did,” Exhibitor Relations senior analyst Jeff Bock told TheWrap.
Senior analyst at comScore Paul Dergarabedian added, “McCarthy is an undeniable and consistent box-office draw, and it seems that her loyal fan base loves her no matter what type of role she plays and is always willing to line up and buy tickets to see her on the big screen.”
2) R-rated Comedy Options Have Been Limited Since ‘Deadpool’
Fans looking to see an R-rated comedy haven’t had many options since “Deadpool” debuted on Feb. 12. The PG-13 rom-com “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” opened a few weekends ago, and Sacha Baron Cohen‘s R-rated gross-out “The Brothers Grimsby” did as well, but for many moviegoers the Nia Vardalos sequel may not have pushed the edge hard enough, while Cohen’s crude and raunchy humor may have pushed too hard.
McCarthy seldom strays far from her rep as an “edgy, non-conformist who just tells it how it is,” Dergarabedian said, a path that has worked well for her. “She’s like the Amy Schumers and Will Ferrells of the world — they have no vanity, they are not scared to sound bad and look bad. ‘Spy’ is a good example: She was spouting out stuff that you could not say in a PG-13 movie.”
3) McCarthy’s Wading in Familiar Waters
McCarthy has found success with her coarse, cutting brand of physical comedy. “‘The Boss’ is definitely in her wheelhouse,” Bock said. “It’s exactly what the audience has been given in the past and it’s exactly what they expect.”
And McCarthy’s costar lineup consists of well-known comedic talent. This time around, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage and Kathy Bates join the fold. Previously, McCarthy has worked with Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman and Rose Byrne.
4) Women Have Been Underserved This Spring
This year’s movies aimed at female audiences have mostly disappointed at the box office, including Tina Fey‘s “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” Shailene Woodley‘s “Divergent Series: Allegiant” and Nia Vardalos‘ “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.”
And unlike those stars, McCarthy is a more proven commodity as a name-above-the-title box-office draw. “She might be the biggest female comedian of our time,” Bock said. “It’s hard to remember a comedian that had a series of box- office hits like she’s had — maybe Bette Midler.”
5) McCarthy’s Never Opened a Film at Less Than $20 Million
McCarthy’s wide releases have all opened in the $20 million-plus range. “The Heat,” for example, opened to $39.1 million in 2013.
“McCarthy has never not opened a film in the $20 millions,” said Bock. “$23 million to $25 million [that’s projected] for ‘Batman v Superman’ — that could also be the high end range for ‘The Boss.’ My guess is ‘Batman’ still takes it, but it could be close.”
If “The Boss” overperforms and “Batman v Superman” drops any more than 50 percent, we might see the crowning of a new box-office champion.