Melissa McCarthy’s ‘The Boss’ knocks ‘Batman v Superman’ from the top spot in a box office squeaker

‘The Boss’

Melissa McCarthy, left, with Kristen Bell in Universal Pictures’ comedy “The Boss.”

(Hopper Stone)

In this weekend’s photo-finish box office race, Melissa McCarthy showed Batman and Superman who’s boss — but just by a nose.

McCarthy’s R-rated comedy “The Boss” opened at the top spot with an estimated $23.48 million in the U.S. and Canada, barely edging out the superhero smackdown “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which took in $23.44 million in its third weekend, according to tracking firm comScore.

See more of Entertainment’s top stories on Facebook >>

Since breaking out in 2011’s “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy has proved one of the industry’s most bankable comedy stars. Despite largely negative reviews, Universal’s “The Boss” — in which the actress plays a business tycoon who tries to rebrand herself as America’s sweetheart after serving prison time for insider trading — extended her winning streak.


 “Melissa McCarthy is a legitimate movie star and a great comedic actress and the track record speaks for itself,” said Nicholas Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “She resonates very well with people out there who just want to go have fun and laugh and identify with a character. She’s smart, but she’s also heartwarming.”

Although “The Boss” opened lower than earlier McCarthy outings such as “Identity Thief” and “Spy,” it managed to surpass the $21.6 million debut of 2014’s “Tammy,” which, like “The Boss,” was directed by McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone. Its number-one opening is a positive omen for McCarthy’s next film, Sony’s “Ghostbusters” revival, set for release in mid-June.

In line with expectations, exit polls showed women made up 67% of the audience for “The Boss,” demonstrating once again that demographic’s ability to power female-centric comedies to box office heights.

“You can go back to ‘Sisters’ at Christmas as the last time there really was an R-rated, female-driven comedy for that audience base, which has proven to come out time and time again,” Carpou said. “Both because it had been a while and from the standpoint of counterprogramming, ‘The Boss’ seemed ideally suited to this weekend.”


Coming in a close second, Warner Bros.’ “Batman v Superman” saw its domestic ticket sales drop 54% from last weekend while bringing its global tally to $783.5 million. Though much has been made of its underwhelming critical reception, with $296.7 million in domestic grosses, the film has already topped the $291 million earned by 2013’s “Man of Steel” in its entire run to become the third-highest grossing DC Comics film of all time.

Disney’s critically acclaimed animated hit “Zootopia” continued to show impressive legs, dropping just 26% in its sixth weekend to take third place with $14.4 million, bringing its cumulative domestic tally to $296 million.

In fourth place, Universal’s romantic comedy sequel “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" took in $6.4 million in its third weekend of release. Newcomer “Hardcore Henry,” an R-rated first-person action film, rounded out the top five with $5.1 million, bringing in an audience that skewed heavily young and male — not coincidentally, the same audience that tends to favor first-person shooter video games.

Claiming the sixth and seventh spots, the Christian-oriented “Miracles From Heaven,” which earned $4.8 million, and “God’s Not Dead 2,” which took in $4.3 million, continued to show the power of the faith-based movie-going audience.

Among more limited releases, “Everybody Wants Some!!” — director Richard Linklater’s “spiritual sequel” to his much-loved high school film “Dazed and Confused” — and the Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead” each continued to draw crowds, boasting impressive per-screen averages of $8,095 and $9,096 respectively.

Twitter: @joshrottenberg

Get our daily Envelope newsletter

The Awards and Industry Insider brings you exclusive awards season coverage, the business of show business and more.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.