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‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Edges Out ‘Scary Stories’ at Box Office

Dwayne Johnson blockbuster stays No. 1 amid flurry of new releases

While a flurry of mid-budget films have entered the late summer box office, Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” is still set to take another No. 1 spot with $25 million in its second weekend.

That total is down 58% from the “Fast & Furious” spinoff’s $60 million opening, and roughly the same drop as “The Fate of the Furious” two years ago. The film’s domestic total is now pushed to an estimated $108 million, with an opening in China coming later this month.

“Hobbs & Shaw” is just edging out the top new release of the weekend, Lionsgate/CBS Films’ “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” The adaptation of Alvin Schwartz’s horror books is now estimated for a $20 million opening from 3,135 screens, beating projections of a start in the mid-to-high teens.

If that result holds, “Scary Stories” will also set a new opening weekend record for CBS Films, which is being shut down in advance of CBS’ upcoming merger with Viacom. The current opening record for CBS Films belongs to the 2012 horror film “The Woman in Black” with a $20.8 million start.

The bad news for “Scary Stories” is that its audience reception now points to a front-loaded run at the box office. While critics were mostly positive with an 80% Rotten Tomatoes score, moviegoers have been mixed with a C on CinemaScore and a 3/5 on Postrak, which may dampen the film’s word of mouth.

Despite this, “Scary Stories” is outperforming Paramount’s “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” among teens and young adults, while the live-action version of the Nick Jr. series is relying on family audiences to push it to its estimated $17.5 million opening from 3,735 screens. While “The Lion King” is proving to be stiff competition for “Dora” among movie-going families, the Disney remake is neck-and-neck with “Scary Stories” with an estimated $20 million in its fourth weekend. That pushes “King” to $30 million away from the $504 million domestic total earned by the 2017 “Beauty and the Beast” remake.

The good news for “Dora” is that it has performed well critically, which may help the $49 million-budgeted film leg out in the final weeks of summer. The movie has an A on CinemaScore and 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Outside the top five is Disney/Fox’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” which is estimated to open to $7 million from 2,765 screens. It has been pushed out of the top five by Sony’s “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” which will reach $100 million in its third weekend with an estimated $11 million total.

Finally, there is Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Kitchen,” which is shaping up to be the big flop of this weekend’s releases with an estimated $5 million opening from 2,745 screens. While serving as a directorial debut for “Straight Outta Compton” writer Andrea Berloff and a dramatic turn for Tiffany Haddish, it has been panned with a 21% Rotten Tomatoes score and a B- on CinemaScore. The film is now set to be the lowest opening for both Haddish and co-star Melissa McCarthy.