Well, it only took one weekend for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to be kicked to the curb by some unfriendly Neighbors. Universal’s Seth Rogen-Zac Efron comedy was slated to be in a close fight for first place at the box office this weekend with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. However, strong buzz, funny ads, good reviews and a lack of broad, four-quadrant appeal comedies this year gave Nicholas Stoller’s film the momentum to open at #1, with an estimated $51.1 million.
If estimates hold, Neighbors will be the third biggest opening for an R-rated comedy, behind Sex and the City ($57 million) and Ted ($54.4 million). More impressively, the film surpassed the initial three-day take of summer comedy behemoth The Hangover ($45 million), and flew past 21 Jump Street ($36.3 million) and Knocked Up ($30.7 million), among comparable titles. It is also the second year in a row when a film on the second weekend of May has a bigger-than-expected opening and tops $50 million, as The Great Gatsby premiered at that level last year.
Neighbors had a big opening day on Friday, making an estimated $19.6 million (including $2.6 million from evening shows on Thursday). It made back its $18 million production budget in its first day and a bit, although given the ubiquity of ads for the film in recent weeks, the marketing budget was likely much bigger. However, the funny trailers and commercials, as well as several advanced screenings Universal held over the last month since the film’s premiere at SXSW, proved to be a worthwhile investment. The film dropped 9 per cent to 17.8 million on Saturday and is slated for a mild 24 per cent dip on Mother’s Day to get $13.5 million.
Original summer comedy hits like Bridesmaids, Knocked Up and The Hangover ended off with final takes four to six times as large as their opening weekends. Although Neighbors garnered good reviews and even had a big female audience (53 per cent), it only managed a so-so B Cinemascore. However, if the film holds well against the rest of the May openers, it could be on its way to around $200 million.
While Efron and Rogen were riding high, the news was not so amazing for Spider-Man. The webslinger dropped 59 per cent to take silver at the box office, with an estimated $37.2 million. That is a slightly steeper drop than Iron Man 3, which dipped 58 per cent on this weekend last year. With mixed word-of-mouth and a heavy month of competition ahead, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has virtually no chance of coming close to matching its predecessor, at least in North America. The film is only slightly ahead of Thor: The Dark World‘s 10-day take, and with Godzilla and the X-Men garnering excellent buzz, expect a final take of around $210 million. On the bright side, the film surpassed $400 million overseas this weekend, and now has a stunning worldwide total of $551 million, with only 27 per cent of that gross ($147.9 million) coming from North America.
The Other Woman was not fazed by the arrival of another comedy; instead, it held well due to the Mother’s Day holiday and dropped only 36 per cent to take third place, with $9.25 million. It has accumulated $61.7 million so far and is on its way to finishing with close to $90 million. Heaven is For Real is also on mark to hit that $90 million threshold: it took fourth place this weekend with $7 million, a slim 19 per cent drop for last week. It has made $75.2 million so far.
Rounding out the top five was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In its sixth weekend, Marvel’s film had its smallest drop yet – 28 per cent – and made $5.6 million. Although upcoming action releases should sever its theatre count, it has grossed $245 million so far and should soon pass The LEGO Movie to be 2014’s highest-grossing film in North America.
Further down on the chart were two openers with a limited appeal that, unsurprisingly, did not light up the box office. In seventh place was Mom’s Night Out, with $4.2 million. The low-budget comedy is estimated to increase from its Saturday take on Mother’s Day; however, since the holiday is often hard to predict, do not be surprised if it ends up making less than the eighth-place film, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, when actual numbers come out Monday.
Speaking of Oz, the animated musical was neither great nor powerful and made only $3.7 million, one of the lowest starts ever for a film opening in more than 2,500 theatres. Despite an A Cinemascore, the poor reviews and cheap-looking animation could not bring in a larger audience than Rio 2 during that film’s fifth weekend. This should spell trouble for distributor Clarius Entertainment, which probably expected a much bigger opening given the lack of films for families in the marketplace. However, fantasy and family audiences are probably saving their money for Maleficent and How to Train Your Dragon 2.
On the limited release front, period drama Belle had a decent if not spectacular expansion, making $473,000 from only 45 theatres. Jon Favreau’s crowd-pleasing comedy Chef opened with just over $200,000 from only six locations. That film will expand throughout the month and could prove to be a modest hit for the director, which also features his Iron Man 2 co-stars Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. High-school drama Palo Alto, with James Franco and Emma Roberts, took in a solid $80,000 or so from four theatres, while health doc Fed Up did not fill up theatres, taking in $130,000 from 18 locations nationwide.
Here are the box office estimates for the Top 10 films this weekend of May 9 through May 11, 2014:
1. Neighbors – $51.1 million (NEW)
2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $37.2 million (147.9 million total)
3. The Other Woman – $9.2 million ($61.7 million total)
4. Heaven is for Real – $7 million ($75.2 million total)
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $5.6 million ($245 million total)
6. Rio 2 – $5.1 million ($113.2 million total)
7. Mom’s Night Out – $4.2 million (NEW)
8. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return – 3.7 million (NEW)
9. Divergent – $1.7 million ($145 million total)
10. Brick Mansions – $1.5 million ($18.3 million total)
NOTE: These numbers are weekend estimates based on Friday and Saturday’s estimated takes. Actual numbers are reported on Monday afternoon.
Source: Box Office