Night School laughed its way to the top of the class with an estimated $28 million domestic box-office debut.
Despite poor reviews from critics, moviegoers embraced the Universal Pictures release, giving it the best opening of a comedy this year.
The film’s $28 million start topped last month’s debut of Crazy Rich Asians, which opened with $26 million over three days.
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Night School stars Kevin Hart as a fast-talking barbecue grill salesman who’s forced to seek a new job and a GED, after the store where he works is destroyed by fire.
Tiffany Haddish co-stars as the tough but caring night-school teacher who struggles to keep her class in line.
“Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish are two of the biggest names in comedy, and they make an unstoppable duo in this film,” Universal domestic distribution chief Jim Orr told Deadline.
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Saturday Night Live alum Taran Killam, Romany Malco, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Brooke Butler, Fat Joe and Keith David round out the cast.
Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee helmed the film, giving him a second strong box-office debut in just 14 months. Girls Trip, which starred Haddish, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith, opened with $31 million in July 2017. Both of Lee’s comedies were produced by Will Packer.
Night School played in 3,010 theaters, earning a per-location average of $9,302, according to Box Office Mojo.
Coming in second place this weekend is Warner Bros.’ animated comedy Smallfoot, which features the voices of Channing Tatum, James Corden and Zendaya. The film is off to a solid, $23 million start.
Last week’s leader, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, slips to third place with $12.5 million.
A Simple Favor takes fourth with $6.6 million and The Nun rounds out the top five with $5.4 million.