Friday Box Office Analysis

By Kim Hollis

November 15, 2014

I bet he's impossible to be around.

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It might have appeared that studios were taking a rest in the weekend between Big Hero 6/Interstellar and Mockingjay Part 1, but audiences have apparently been missing Harry and Lloyd a lot more these past 20 years than many people realized.

Yes, Dumb and Dumber To, the seemingly unwanted sequel to the Farrelly brothers film featuring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, debuted in theaters this weekend. Tracking had it set to debut at what seemed to be an optimistic number at $32 million, but this was a case where expectations were almost exactly perfect. The comedy debuted yesterday with a terrific $14.2 million, $1.6 million of which came from Thursday night previews. That gives us an actual Friday number of $12.6 million to work with when predicting its overall weekend total.

It's a little tough to do that extrapolation based on historical data, as the Farrellys' films have underwhelmed for several years now and Carrey hasn't had a bona fide hit since perhaps 2008's Yes Man, but arguably as far back as 2003's Bruce Almighty if you look at domestic earnings compared to budget. In the intervening years, box office behavior has changed significantly, which means it's easier to look at some recent comedies that opened similarly. 2013's The Heat started with $13.7 million on its way to a $39 million opening weekend, but it had significant appeal to females. Another Melissa McCarthy film, Identity Thief, might not be bad for comparison's sake, though. It had a weekend multiplier of 3.1, and I think that's close but perhaps a little high as there was probably somewhat of a rush factor for Harry and Lloyd's return. If we take it down to a 2.9, that would give us a weekend total of $38.1 million for Dumb and Dumber To.


Also new this weekend was the smaller scale release Beyond the Lights, a film that saw very little advertising and received only 1,789 screens in a crowded marketplace. Despite exceptional reviews and an A Cinemascore, the film debuted Friday with only $2.3 million, probably due to a lack of excitement in the marketing surrounding it. It should finish with about $7 million and may be destined to be more of a cult classic like its director Gina Prince-Bythewood's previous film Love & Basketball.

We may have a new #1 film, but that doesn't mean that our holdover blockbusters from last weekend won't have good weekends, too. Interstellar has been seeing solid weekday returns and won over Big Hero 6 on Friday, but their positions will reverse by the time weekend numbers come out. Interstellar earned $8.3 million, down 51% from its first Friday, but should recover a fair amount through Sunday to finish with a three-day total of $29 million. Big Hero 6 had a Friday total of $8 million, down 49% from its opening day total. As a kid flick, it's going to do just fine over Saturday and Sunday, and will have a weekend take of $32 million.



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