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‘Night School’ Takes Early Lead Over ‘Smallfoot’ at Box Office

Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy on pace for $26 million opening

Universal’s “Night School” and Warner Bros.’ “Smallfoot” are slightly closer on the box office charts this weekend than analysts expected.

The Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy is in first place after grossing $9.5 million from 3,010 screens on Friday, and is currently projected for a $26.4 million opening that would be slightly lower than analyst projections but higher that the $25 million projection made by Universal. By comparison, “Girls Trip,” the previous film from Haddish and the director/producer duo of Malcolm D. Lee and Will Packer, opened to $31 million in July 2017.

“Smallfoot,” meanwhile, grossed $6.3 million on Friday but is expected to pick up business on Saturday by nature of being a family animated film. Starring Channing Tatum and James Corden, the film is currently estimated to meet analyst pre-weekend projections with a $23.5 million start from 4,131 screens.

Both “Smallfoot” and “Night School” performed well with opening night audiences, earning an A- on CinemaScore. However, critics gave “Smallfoot” a 70 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and “Night School” 29 percent.

Universal’s “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” is in third with an estimated $12 million second weekend, which would be roughly a 55 percent drop from its $26.4 million opening and would give the Eli Roth film a 10-day total of $44.2 million. Lionsgate’s “A Simple Favor” is in fourth with an estimated third weekend of $6.7 million.

Two horror films are competing for the final spot in the top five, and right now it looks like Lionsgate/CBS Films’ “Hell Fest” will fall short to WB/New Line’s “The Nun,” which is in its fourth weekend. “The Nun,” which crossed $100 million domestic last weekend, is projected to add $5.4 million this weekend, while “Hell Fest” is struggling to meet opening weekend projections after making $2 million on Friday from just under 2,300 locations.

The retro slasher film was projected for a $5-7 million start but is now estimated for a $4.8 million start. Reviews have been anemic with a C on CinemaScore and a 35 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. The film cost $5.5 million to make on a budget co-financed with Tucker Tooley Entertainment.

Finally, indie distributor Pinnacle Peak released the seventh film adaptation of “Little Women” in theaters this weekend, and is projected to not even reach $1 million this weekend. Released on 643 screens, it’s looking at an opening of around $865,000 and a per screen average of less than $2,000. Critics gave the film negative reviews with a 38 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.