“No Hard Feelings” came out on top of the domestic box office on its opening day, bedding $6.25 million in Friday and Thursday preview screenings from 3,208 venues. Meanwhile, the top spot for the weekend is a battle between animated adventures; both “Elemental” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” are staying above “The Flash,” which looks to be collapsing in its second outing.
Heading into the weekend, Sony and Columbia’s “No Hard Feelings” was projected to launch with a mild $12 million. The raunchy R-rated Jennifer Lawrence vehicle is already outrunning those estimates, now forecasting a debut of $15 million or so.
“No Hard Feelings” may lose pace to holdovers as the weekend unfolds, but box-office-king-for-a-day is certainly a higher honor than most studio comedies have achieved of late. The once-prolific genre has fallen far from theatrical relevance in recent years, with the past few months containing an expansive slate of box office disappointments and failures, from “The Machine” to “Easter Sunday” to “Bros.”
An A-list talent like Lawrence and some solid enough notices in the press — 67% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes — are giving “No Hard Feelings” a lift above its genre peers. Audience buzz isn’t bad either, as indicated by the “B+” Cinema Score grade determined by surveying early viewers. But while the film is outperforming tempered expectations, it may still be an uphill climb for “No Hard Feelings” to turn a genuine profit — it cost $45 million to produce.
Directed by Gene Stupnitsky, “No Hard Feelings” stars Lawrence as Maddie, a beleaguered Uber driver who gets her car repossessed. Maddie is determined to change her luck after spotting a Craigslist ad from two parents, offering their old car in exchange for somebody to date their awkward Princeton-bound son (Andrew Barth Feldman).
Meanwhile, things still aren’t coming up “Flash” at the box office. After its disastrous opening of $55.7 million last weekend, the DC Comics multiverse mash-up is getting kneecapped in its second outing. The Warner Bros. Discovery release cratered with $4.5 million on Friday, down 81% from its opening day. Once projected to retain its top spot on domestic charts, “The Flash” will now be lucky to stay one of the top three releases in theaters. A week-to-week drop north of 70% looks to be in the cards.
That would notch higher than the 66% tumble that DC solo film “Green Lantern” took in 2011, on its way to a massively disappointing $116 million domestic finish. Similar second weekend comic book collapses include last year’s terribly reviewed “Morbius” and the morose 2003 adaptation of “Hulk,” which fell 73.8% and 69.7% respectively. However “The Flash” stacks up, it has little hope of justifying its $200 million production budget at this point; its domestic gross should stand at around $87 million through Sunday.
More to come…