Nightmare Alley, Ron's Gone Wrong and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

By Chris Kavan - 07/07/21 at 07:57 PM CT

Well, at least there are a couple of film's to discuss this week in a typical MPAA Ratings Bulletin. But, of course, the bigger news was that Universal studios scored the top three films at the box office - F9, Boss Baby: Family Business and The Forever Purge - the first studio to take the top three spots at the box office since 2005. The last time Universal took the top three spots at the box office was all the way back in 1989 when Sea of Love, Parenthood and Uncle Buck were the top three draws. While the weekend box office was a bit light on fireworks, it still was a solid performance all-around and should bode well for Black Widow, which is fast approaching this weekend.

It was no surprise that F9 once again took the top spot at the box office, taking in $23 million for the weekend, rising to $29.1 million including the Monday holiday time frame. That gives the franchise pic a new $122.2 million domestic total - and over $500 million worldwide, the first American film to hit that mark since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. While some may find 67% drop a bit worrying, that is well in line with previous Fast films. Even though I know it's going to get crushed by the MCU, F9 should drive off with a tidy sum.
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Coming in the second-place position was The Boss Baby: Family Business. The animated sequel managed a $16 million opening weekend (up to $19.6 million factoring in Monday). While that was well below the $50.2 million opening of the original film, like so many other films this year this premiered on streaming at the same time (this time on Peacock) and thus could have affected the final numbers. Families showed up and families liked what the saw, awarding the film an "A" Cinemascore. Critics - not so much, as the film sits at a rotten 49% - not that the first film wowed critics on its way to a $528 million worldwide total. The film hasn't rolled out much overseas yet, earning a mere $1.5 million outside the U.S.

Rounding out Universal's dominance, The Forever Purge landed in third place with $12.55 million ($15.76 million with Monday taken into account). The supposed final Purge posted the lowest opening of any Purge film (beating out The First Purge at $17.4 million) but with a modest $18 million budget, the horror franchise doesn't need to post F9 numbers to be considered a success. While I myself have enjoyed the series, I never really considered it a theater-worthy endeavor, but I'm sure I will catch this in the future.

Keeping horror on the menu, A Quiet Place II continued its fantastic run in fourth place with $4.1 million, down just under 34%, ($5.3 million after Monday) and raised its total to $145.5 million - and it will be interesting to see if it crosses $150 million domestic before either F9 or Black Widow. It's also nearing $260 million worldwide - impressive for any horror film, even moreso for a sequel.

And coming in the fifth-place spot, The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard dipped a bit over 38% to take in $3 million ($3.8 million counting Monday) and raising its total to $32.2 million. It should top the $50 million mark worldwide before long as well.

One of the most buzzed-about titles of the week was a stripper road trip based on a viral Twitter thread. Featuring Taylour Paige and Riley Keough as our Florida-bound strippers, Zola has garnered praise from critics (87% on Rotten Tomatoes) and landed in 8th place with $1.2 million (rising to 8th place on Monday with $1.65 million). A twisted thriller and thrill ride, if you want something outside the blockbuster/franchise range, this looks to be a sweet summer treat.

Next week the MCU returns with Black Widow, which is already looking to be the biggest film of the year (thus far) - we'll see how the female-driven (and long overdue) film dominates the box office.

As for the MPAA Ratings Bulletin, we've got a couple of big films to talk about, including the latest from master of twisted fantasy Guillermo del Toro and an animated film about a digital assistant best friend - and what happens when there's a glitch in the friendship.

MPAA Official Logo

I'm an unabashed fanboy for Guillermo del Toro - I've been hooked every since I saw Hellboy and especially Pan's Labyrinth. He can do big and bombastic (Pacific Rim) or deeply emotional (The Shape of Water). Whatever the case, he's the master of twisted fairytales and comic book adaptations alike - and now he turns his eye to Nightmare Alley. What you may or may not know is that there was a previous Nightmare Alley filmed back in 1947 (starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell while being directed by Edmund Goulding) and gained a somewhat cult following. However, del Toro has gone on record to say he is not doing a remake of this film but rather an adaptation of the original book the film is based on. In any case, the film follows mentalist Stanton 'Stan' Carlisle in a sideshow (Bradley Cooper) who learns the trade from Zeena Krumbein (Toni Collette) and her drunk of a husband, Pete (David Strathairn) while also falling for Molly (Rooney Mara) who lives with the strong man, Bruno (Ron Perlman). Realizing that this sideshow will only get him so far, Stan takes his talents to the big city where he meets his match in a scheming psychologist Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) who proves to be his biggest match... and ultimate downfall. Sounds like a twisted little tale that is right in the wheelhouse for del Toro. Alas, I am still sad I never got to see his adaptation of The Mountains of Madness... but I guess this is a fine consolation prize. Rated R for strong/bloody violence, some sexual content, nudity and language.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we find Ron's Gone Wrong. The film follows an awkward teen named Barney (voiced by It and Shazam star Jack Dylan Grazer) who finds solace in his new walking, talking digitally-connected device, Ron (Zach Galifianakis). But Ron has his own issues, in the form of a malfunction, and the two will have to navigate the era of social media frenzy and discover friendship - but not without a few hiccups along the way. The film also includes the vocal talents of Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney and Kylie Cantrall among others. The whole awkward-teen-trying-to-fit-in is not exactly a novel concept - but at least giving it a technological twist is somewhat inventive. Family films have been a bit hit or miss since things have been getting back to normal - so we'll see where this one lands come October, which, admittedly, is not exactly a hot-bed for family films. Rated PG for some rude material, thematic elements and language.

That's the big two for this week but you can check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS

Rated PG for peril, action and thematic elements.


BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE

Rated R for language.


FLAG DAY

Rated R for language, some drug use and violent content.


MORTAL KOMBAT LEGENDS: BATTLE OF THE REALMS

Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout and some language.


MY LITTLE PONY: A NEW GENERATION

Rated PG for some thematic elements.


NAKED SINGULARITY

Rated R for language throughout, some violence, sexual references and drug use.


NIGHTMARE ALLEY

Rated R for strong/bloody violence, some sexual content, nudity and language.


RON'S GONE WRONG

Rated PG for some rude material, thematic elements and language.

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