It’s just one more weekend before Furious 7 blows everything up, but there isn’t much calm before the storm this weekend, as we’ve got a notable comedic pairing and the first pure animated release of 2015 that should keep the box office on a relative winning streak.
Weekend Box Office Forecast for March 27-29, 2015
By Tim Briody
March 27, 2015
Get Hard pairs Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, with Ferrell playing an investment banker being sent to prison (so it’s obviously fictional). He immediately panics and decides to ask seemingly the only black guy he knows (Hart) for advice on how to survive in the joint. The problem being that Hart’s character never went to prison. Racial profiling leads to comedic hijinks!
While the film is obviously banking on the high recognition both Ferrell and Hart have, neither is riding much of a hot streak right now. Ferrell has actually kept a fairly low profile lately, with just Anchorman 2 and the main antagonist voice in The LEGO Movie in the last year and a half, while Hart hasn’t come close to matching the success of last year’s Ride Along ($134.9 million), as this January’s The Wedding Ringer ($64.2 million) underwhelmed and has veered Hart dangerously close to the point of overexposure.
Get Hard is going for what we in the business like to call “the hard sell,” with a ridiculous amount of ads during the NCAA Tournament and just about everything else on television. Reviews are abysmal and call the pairing wasted on offensive and borderline racist material. Still, both leads still have appeal and are two of the stronger comedic actors working right now. A weekend of $27 million and a quick free fall out of theaters feels about right.
Believe it or not, Home is the first fully animated release of 2015. It’s from DreamWorks and is based on the children’s book The True Meaning of Smekday. A friendly yet bumbling alien named Oh escapes to Earth and befriends a teenage girl who is also trying to run away from home. The search for Oh sends the rest of his race to Earth, which causes problems that are not explained in the trailer but are gleaned when trying to describe the plot of the movie. Voice acting is provided by Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. So even if the movie isn’t that good, it’ll probably have a booty-shakin’ soundtrack (with possibly a banjo track thrown in as well).
DreamWorks Animation produced a mixed bag of success in 2014; Mr. Peabody and Sherman was considered a surprise with $111 million, but How to Train Your Dragon 2 earned $40 million less than the first one (but made a lot more worldwide), while the Penguins of Madagascar spinoff landed with a relative thud at $83 million. Without a notable hook or source material, this is definitely a mid- to lower-tier animated release, rather than something like The Croods, which earned $43.6 million on this weekend two years ago. Reviews are also lousy, though those don’t really apply when it comes to animation. What does matter is that younger audiences are quite underserved at this point, with only The SpongeBob movie to satiate them so far this year. Home will actually make it quite the race against Get Hard for the weekend title. I’m going to give the slight edge to Get Hard, but never underestimate the power of “I had to take the kids to see *something.*” Look for Home to have a weekend of $26 million.
After a couple solid weekends in limited release, horror film It Follows expands from 32 to 1,200 theaters this weekend. Starring nobody and made for $2 million, the concept is brilliantly simple: There is a curse that will kill you, and the only way to get rid of it is to have sex with someone. The catch is that when the curse kills a victim, it reverts back to the person that passed it on. And so on.
Much like the grassroots build that fueled the initial Paranormal Activity film, It Follows is getting incredible reviews (95% at Rotten Tomatoes!) and word-of-mouth, citing the original concept and legitimate scares. The Weinstein Company is carefully expanding it and will very likely become the top film from their Radius wing after this weekend. A weekend of $5 million certainly bodes well for another expansion in a week or two.
Insurgent was easily the top movie last weekend with $52 million, but that’s $2 million less than Divergent, which does not look good for the longevity of the series. I again remind you that the two-part finale looms next year and in 2017. Divergent dropped 50% in the second weekend and this will probably drop a bit more, so look for a second weekend of $23.5 million.
Elsewhere, Cinderella fell a larger than expected 48% but a $17.5 million weekend sends it very close to the $150 million mark after just three weeks, which is still pretty good. Last weekend’s other wide release, The Gunman, was DOA with $5 million and joins the mess that is the lower rungs of the box office top ten.