August 22, 2018
Box Office: 'Happytime Murders' Reaches 19 Million

This August has proven to be a successful month for the box office. Several films have been successful including Mission: Impossible - Fallout and Crazy Rich Asians. Now it's up to Happytime Murders to keep the success going.

The film is a raunchy dark comedy about a group of puppets and humans that work together in Los Angeles and must solve a series of murders involving former cast members of a children's show. Melissa McCarthy plays an LAPD detective and teams up with her former partner, a puppet. This movie has everything including offensive jokes, drug use, murder, and sex. The movie is being compared to Seth Rogen's Sausage Party which was a huge box office hit and brought in $140 million. But Sausage Party also had a smaller production budget of $19 million. The budget for Happytime Murders is $40 million.

Critics say this is the latest attempt to use outrageous humor to bring audiences back into the theater and away from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. It seemed to work well for Sausage Party in 2016 but can it work for Happytime Murders? And even if it does, can the film compete with the success of Crazy Rich Asians? According to Variety, if the momentum of that film's success remains strong, the romantic comedy could easily pick up another $10 million to $15 million.

Melissa McCarthy at an event
Melissa McCarthy at an event.

It's hard to say whether or not audiences are ready to see puppets participating in such unwholesome behavior. The film is rated R and fans of The Muppets might be surprised to learn that Happytime Murders was directed by Brian Henson, the son Jim Henson who created the original series.

The film's controversy has boosted its publicity and Sesame Workshop sued STX earlier in 2018 to stop the studio from using the tagline "No Sesame. All Street". The Los Angeles Times reported that a judge ruled against the Sesame Workshop in May.

STX has struggled in recent months and could use a box office hit. Several of the studio's films including I Feel Pretty, Mile 22, and Adrift did not meet expectations. McCarthy's films have underperformed as well recently. Earlier in 2018, Life of the Party made $17.8 million which is one of her lowest openings so far. However, several of her films have performed well in the past. Spy, Identity Thief, and The Heat have all made over $100 million and Bridesmaids earned $288 million.

According to E! News, Crazy Rich Asians made $34 million in its first five days and a sequel is already in the works. If Happytime Murders does manage to take the throne, that will be quite a feat.