'Night School' passes test in North American theaters

Tiffany Kevin

For once it was a comedy, not a superhero or horror flick, that topped North American box offices this weekend as Universal's raucous new release "Night School" earned $27.5 million, according to industry data released on Monday.

Kevin Hart stars as one of a group of misfits attending night school to earn their high school diplomas, under the firm tutelage of Tiffany Haddish.

The box office take was almost enough to pay off its production costs -- quoted at $29 million by industry number cruncher Box Office Mojo -- over the three-day weekend.

In second was another new release, family animation "Smallfoot" from Warner Bros., which netted $23 million, according to Exhibitor Relations, another box office monitor.

The comic tale about a group of Yeti who run into a human -- to the amazement and consternation of both sides -- features the voices of Channing Tatum, LeBron James, James Corden, Zendaya and Danny DeVito.

Last weekend's top attraction, Universal's family film "The House With a Clock in Its Walls," slipped to third, pulling in $12.6 million. Jack Black and Cate Blanchett star alongside young Owen Vaccaro as Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan sent to live with his warlock uncle.

In fourth was "A Simple Favor," Lionsgate's drama about a mommy blogger (Anna Kendrick) who investigates the mysterious disappearance of her friend (Blake Lively). It earned $6.5 million.

And fifth place went to horror film "The Nun" from Warner Bros., the latest fright fest in the popular "Conjuring" series. The story of a young nun, an exorcist and a guide stumbling onto a dark secret in Dracula country netted $5.4 million.

Overall, the month brought smiles to Hollywood, ending as the second best September ever, trailing only last year's record grosses, according to Box Office Mojo.

Rounding out this weekend's top 10 were:

"Hell Fest" ($5.1 million)

"Crazy Rich Asians" ($4.1 million)

"The Predator" ($3.9 million)

"White Boy Rick" ($2.4 million)

"Peppermint" ($1.8 million)

Culled from Ghanaweb