Directed By: Miguel Arteta
Written By: Sam Pitman, Adam Cole-Kelly
Release Date: January 10, 2020
Domestic Distributor: Paramount
Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Lisa Kudrow, Billy Porter
Box Office Information
Budget: $29 Million
Financed by: Paramount
Domestic Box Office Gross: $22,169,514
Overseas Box Office Gross: $7,583,629
Best friends Mia and Mel (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are living their best lives running their own cosmetics company they’ve built from the ground up. Unfortunately, they’re in over their heads financially, and the prospect of a big buyout offer from a notorious titan of the cosmetics industry Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) proves too tempting to pass up, putting Mel and Mia’s lifelong friendship in jeopardy. The beauty business is about to get ugly. LIKE A BOSS also stars Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair, and Karan Soni.
Box Office Breakdown
After Tiffany Haddish’s breakout role in the 2017 summer hit Girls Trip, studios were competitive in landing potential projects for her. Like A Boss (formerly titled Limited Partners) began as a pitch with Haddish attached and no screenplay written and the project went out for auction. Interest was strong from studios and Paramount landed Like A Boss on October 23, 2017.
Haddish was in such demand throughout 2018 that studios were bidding on an opening in her fall schedule to fit a production in. Numerous studios had vehicles for her ready to go before the cameras, but she opted to go with Like A Boss at Paramount, which she would also executive produce. Her decision to move forward with this project was in July 2018, with an October production scheduled.
Miguel Arteta was tapped to direct, who after making a career of pitch-black indie comedies (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl, Youth In Revolt) directed his first broad studio comedy in 2014 with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. After that minor hit, he made two small pictures (Beatriz at Dinner and Duck Butter), before returning to the studio system to pump out this disposable movie.
Paramount fully financed Like A Boss for $29 million and dated it for the prime summer slot on June 28, 2019 — which was previously reserved for Transformers 7, which Paramount canceled. The movie apparently scored decent grades from test audiences, but the studio eventually moved Like A Boss to the January dumping ground on January 10, 2020. Paramount used the hit The Upside as their reference movie, which opened on that frame the previous year — even though an R rated raunchy comedy has little audience overlap with a saccharine dramedy.
Tiffany Haddish’s Rise to the A-List
Since she shot to the A-list toplining studio fare, Haddish had a string of mediocre to poor performers. She was second-billed on the decently performing Night School but saw weak returns from the Tyler Perry movie Nobody’s Fool, her lower budget dark comedy The Oath was dumped and barely saw a theatrical run, The Kitchen was a commercial disaster and then Like A Boss flopped.
Box Office Numbers
Paramount invested heavily into promoting Like A Boss, with $17.76 million for TV ads (as per iSpotTV) going into release and a few million spent after. With other marketing and distribution expenses factored in, the domestic P&A costs were near $40 million. Between the budget and global marketing costs, over $100 million was allotted to this assembly line studio comedy for a rising star. It’s an insane revenue model when about $200 million in gross revenue is the breakeven point for such a trivial movie.
Like A Boss bowed against the long-delayed Underwater and the nationwide expansions of 1917 and Just Mercy. Reviews were awful, but that did not likely impact those looking for silly adult counter-programming to award pictures and holiday tentpoles. Tracking was pointing to an opening in the low teens to about $15 million, but Like A Boss opened on the low end of its modest expectations with $10,011,272 — placing #4 for the weekend led by the Oscar hopeful 1917.
The movie collapsed quickly at the box office, sinking 59.6% to $4,040,410 in its second frame and followed that with a 62.8% plunge to $1,504,826 in session three — where it then lost most of its theater count. After only six weeks, the domestic run closed with a very poor $22,169,514.
Like A Boss continued the box office slump Paramount had dug itself into since they released the expensive mega bomb Gemini Man in October 2019, then followed that with the poorly performing Terminator: Dark Fate (both were mostly responsible for a quarterly loss of $119 million at the Viacom owned Paramount) and their last wide release of the year was the turkey Playing with Fire, which was at best a break-even movie.
A few weeks after Like A Boss tanked, The Rhythm Section broke records for the worst opening for a supersaturated release and then Paramount finally landed a hit with Sonic the Hedgehog.
Poor business has trailed Like A Boss through its international run, where the numbers sit at just $7.5 million. The film tanked in the UK theaters with $1.2 million and the receipts from Australian cinemas have been $1.5 million (strongest numbers outside the US).
The worldwide run concluded with $29.7 million in revenue. Paramount would see returned about $16.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, leaving the bulk of P&A costs in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts. After ancillary revenue is factored in, the film’s loss will certainly exceed the budget. Haddish’s career will survive this failure, though it is certainly a setback for her ability to carry a studio picture solo.
Coronavirus Impact: Minimal.
Like A Boss had been pulled from US theaters nearly one month before the pandemic hit, but the last two major markets to release the picture were Germany and Russia — both during the final week that theaters closed their doors. The German gross was reported at $211,202 and those numbers were likely smaller than expected due to depressed attendance. No numbers were reported from Russia. In normal times, the German numbers might have reached a final $2M gross — but the picture was a major failure far before COVID-19 shaved a few million off it’s potential worldwide gross.