‘Strays’ Stumbles at Box Office Without Its Stars’ Promotion

By John Mercury August 22, 2023

When selling a movie about raunchy talking dogs, it helps to have some star power to get moviegoers into seats.

And “Strays,” which opened Friday, has it — at least on the screen. Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Randall Park and Isla Fisher are among those who contribute their comic voice talents. Normally, a cast like this would translate into countless promotional appearances in settings like “Saturday Night Live,” late-night talk shows and on social media platforms. Not during the actors’ strike, when such efforts by the actors are forbidden.

Instead, the most exciting thing to happen during the press tour for the film may have been during a rehearsal for a segment on NBC’s “Today” show when Dylan Dreyer, a meteorologist, took a tumble while practicing a trick with an Australian Shepherd.

“Strays,” which had a budget of $46 million, is one of four movies that opened widely across the country this weekend. It grossed an estimated $8.3 million for a fifth place showing, a poor opening and not close to the number Universal Pictures was hoping for when it greenlit the film. (The studio’s previous R-rated comedy that paired raunchy material with family-friendly characters, “Good Boys,” opened in 2019 to $21 million. “Cocaine Bear,” also from Universal, had a far more robust opening, $23 million, back in February.)

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