The box office was invaded by a little purple alien this weekend, and Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart also hoped to capture their share of box office glory. Also making waves is a small but well-reviewed horror film that received an expansion into just over 1,200 venues. It's the first frame in some weeks that gives all kinds of movie fans a reason to visit theaters, and audiences responded positively.
Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
March 28, 2015
Our champion for the weekend will be the animated DreamWorks film Home, which is based on the book The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex and features the voices of Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez. The Fox release earned $15.6 million on Friday, well ahead of where most forecasters were predicting it would wind up. Since Home is the first fully animated feature since November's Big Hero 6 and Penguins of Madagascar, there had definitely been a void in broad-ranging family entertainment. Paddington had somewhat limited appeal (though it was quite successful for what it was) and Cinderella really is more for girls and their mothers rather than the entire family.
Because the film skews younger, Home should hold up extremely well during the Saturday-Sunday portion of the weekend. Last year saw February's Mr. Peabody & Sherman exceed a 4.0 multiplier (weekend box office divided by Friday box office), while the April release Rio 2 had in excess of a 3.0 multiplier. If we split the difference for a 3.5, we're looking at a weekend total of $54.6 million, which will go a long way toward making the people behind this project very happy, as it has a hefty price tag of $135 million.
Our runner-up will be Get Hard, the comedy from Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Although the previews were lacking and reviews were hostile (32% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes), the film still came in with $12.9 million for Friday. The debut number is probably a testament to the combined drawing power of its two leads more than anything else. Although its B Cinemascore probably means that word-of-mouth won't be good enough to keep it in theaters long, Get Hard should finish its first weekend with a total of $34.8 million.
The Weinsteins used their Radius production arm to widen distribution of the buzzy horror film It Follows to 1,218 locations, and the result was a Friday number of $1.4 million. The scary flick is 95% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes and has fans of the genre talking. Its weekend total will approach $4 million, but will probably come in right under that amount. With no stars, the production cost was probably negligible, so the studio is bound to be extremely pleased with this result, particularly because the theatrical release is more a commercial for the eventual home video distribution.
Last weekend's winner, Insurgent, saw its fortunes fall significantly as it declined 68% from its debut Friday to $6.9 million. That's going to be concerning for Lionsgate, although Divergent had a first friday decline of 64% and then wound up holding up decently over the course of its run. Insurgent should have a Friday-to-Sunday total of about $23.5 million (though the studio will probably estimate it just higher at $25 million).
Do You Believe? and The Gunman, last weekend's other two new releases, declined 46% and 66% respectively, which means that there's not much reason to keep talking about either one.