March came in like a lamb at the box office this year, but it leaves roaring like a lion, thanks to two strong openings. DreamWorks Animation finished a domestic box office slump that dated back to the summer of 2013, as the 3D sci-fi comedy Home launched to the top of the charts with an estimated $54 million. That is the biggest non-sequel opening for an animated film from the company since Monsters Vs. Aliens ($59.3 million) six years ago. Due to mixed reviews, a plot noticeably similar to Lilo and Stitch and an ad campaign that didn’t seem to promise much for teens and adults, this was a much better opening than box office prognosticators expected.
With the voice talent of Jim Parsons, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez, Home ended up generating a lot of interest among families. The film opened better than the more heavily hyped DreamWorks titles Megamind ($46 million) and even How To Train Your Dragon 2 ($49.5 million). Among movies aimed at younger crowds, the film came very close to recent hits Big Hero 6 ($56.2 million) and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water ($55.4 million). With an A CinemaScore and no animated titles in cinemas until Pixar releases Inside Out in June, expect good legs for the animated comedy.
Although it had to settle for second place, the teaming of Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart predictably brought in a big audience, as Get Hard opened with a strong $34.6 million. That is well within the range both funny actors are accustomed to. That opening is below the start for The Other Guys ($35.5 million) and Ride Along ($41.5 million), yet above many of the stars’ other films in recent memory.
The R-rated comedy received poor reviews and some controversy around the subject matter and some of the supposedly crass homophobic jokes featured in the film. Audiences gave the film a B CinemaScore, which indicates word-of-mouth is quite mixed. With Furious 7 opening next weekend, that could be worrisome for the comedy. Still, without many funny options for crowds in April, Get Hard could find its way near the $100 million mark.