“Home” and “Get Hard” (Warner Bros.) took the top two spots yesterday with $15.6 and 12.9 million respectively. Both seemed to have exceeded expectations and led to a healthy $45 million Top Ten total, $6 million ahead of last year when sole opener “Noah” managed $15.2 for its initial day.
Both new films had looked promising, though with some concern for different reasons. That makes these numbers more satisfying. “Home” comes from beleaguered DreamWorks Animation, beset by cutbacks and losses of late. Its Friday debut (including Thursday night early shows) came in only $200,000 less than the similar non-holiday/non-summer opening of Disney’s “Big Hero 6” last November, and $3 million ahead of last April’s “Rio 2” debut (the latter from Fox Animation). With the full weekend likely to approach $60 million and staggered school vacation weeks ahead, this look like a potential $200 million + domestic grosser.
“Get Hard” with its pairing of Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell looked commercial, and a dearth of hit comedies of lately increased its promise. But its R rating raised, bad reviews out of its unusual high profile festival (South by Southwest) premiere and the frequency of Hart-starring films (four since the smash “Ride Along” in early 2014) raised questions about how big it might be. It turns out better than anticipated. Though it didn’t quite reach “Ride”‘s $14 million + first day, it exceeded all of Hart’s subsequent releases. It stands as Ferrell’s best opening Friday since the slightly bigger “The Other Guys” in 2010. Audience reaction is now the critical factor (its initial Cinemascore was a mediocre B), but with its thrifty $40 million budget it looks to reverse Warners’ post-“American Sniper” slump.
“Insurgent” (Lionsgate) came in third with $6,850,000, off 68 per cent from last Friday (“Divergent” last year dropped 64 per cent from a slightly better debut). Better foreign results this time boost this, but this looks to come in below the initial entry’s $150 million total at home. “Cinderella” (Buena Vista) took a hit to some degree from “Home,” dropping 50 per cent at $4.7 million for fourth place.
“It Follows” (Radius/TWC), initially planned to debut on Video on Demand this weekend after a brief two-week theatrical lead in, instead expanded to 1,218 theaters with no home viewing competition after its strong limited response. The $1.4 million gross, though not sensational, came with a far more limited marketing outlay (there has been some TV/cable advertising, but far below most wider horror film releases) and this had little pre-release trailer play to make it better known among mainstream moviegoers. The figures for the rest of the weekend (most younger-oriented genre films fall after their first Friday) will suggest whether this could end up sustaining a credible longer run and justify further expansion and expense.
Signs of lingering box office weakness can be found still in the rest of the Top Ten, all of which managed less than $1 million. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (20th Century Fox) in its seventh week in sixth held best with $840,000. “Do You Believe?” (PureFlix) dropped 46 per cent for seventh with $650,000. “Run All Night” (Warner Bros.) placed eighth with $630,000, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (Fox Searchlight) ninth with $625,000, with Open Road’s “The Gunman” dropping 66 per cent from its poor opening to take tenth.
Noteworthy among new limited openings is the strong debut of Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young” (A24) starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts. It took in nearly $65,000 in only four prime New York/Los Angeles theaters for a very strong first day per screen average of over $16,000.