Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart’s Night School is poised to set a September box office record with an opening of over $30 million, according to Deadline.
Night School also proves once again the directing power of Malcolm D. Lee, since Deadline reports that Night School is the highest comedy debut since Lee’s Girls Trip, also starring Haddish and earned $31.2 million during its opening weekend.
Night School stars Hart as a high school dropout with learning disabilities who goes back to high school to get his GED. Haddish plays his no-nonsense teacher who does whatever it takes to make him earn his degree.
Night School might earn major bank at the box office, but its critical reception is a different story. So far, the film has an 21 percent rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, much lower than the R-rated Girls’ Trip‘s 90 percent fresh rating. Since the film debuts Sept. 28, that rating could go higher, but Variety’s Owen Gleiberman wrote that the film’s PG-13 rating hurts the film, alluding to the suggestion that an R-rating would have made the film stronger.
“It determines a lot of the tone: more goofy than nasty, with lines that don’t shock the way they could (Imagine Girls Trip as a PG-13 movie, and you’d have a much lesser comedy),” he wrote.
However, a box office success is a success, regardless of how you slice it. At any rate, it proves once again that films with black leads not only sell, but can set records.