“Stuber,” an R-rated buddy flick starring Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista that cost about $25 million to make, also raised new questions about the theatrical viability of modestly budgeted comedies in the Netflix age. North American moviegoers have given a cold shoulder to one such comedy after another this summer, including “Late Night,” “Long Shot,” “The Hustle,” “Shaft,” “Poms” and “Booksmart.”
'Stuber' stalls, dealing another setback to comedies and Disney's Fox
LOS ANGELES — “Stuber” stalled at the box office over the weekend, accentuating a problem with movies coming off the 20th Century Fox assembly line: They aren’t very good.
As usual, franchises dominated multiplex marquees over the weekend. The No. 1 movie was “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (Sony Pictures), which collected about $45.3 million, for a 13-day domestic total of $274.5 million ($847 million worldwide). “Toy Story 4” (Disney-Pixar) was second, generating about $20.7 million in ticket sales, for a four-week global total of $771.1 million, according to Comscore.
Among new wide releases, “Crawl” (Paramount) did the best, capitalizing on surprisingly strong reviews. A horror movie about alligators on the loose during a hurricane, “Crawl” took in roughly $12 million, enough for third place. Paramount spent $13.5 million to make the R-rated movie, which the studio supported with a shrewd marketing campaign that positioned the film as a frothy summertime diversion.
“Stuber” arrived in fourth place. It collected $8 million.
Distributed by Disney, which took over the Fox movie factory in March, “Stuber” had a marketing campaign that cost at least $30 million. Disney aggressively went after men, releasing trailers during WrestleMania and the NBA Finals. Disney-owned ESPN was a marketing partner. The film’s crass tagline: “Saving the day takes a pair.”
“Stuber,” about an Uber driver named Stu who picks up a detective, received largely negative reviews, according to the criticism-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a movie consultancy, called it “an extremely weak entry.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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