Dumber Outsmarts Big Hero 6, Interstellar
By John Hamann
November 16, 2014
Obviously, everybody loves a clown. Dumb and Dumber To debuted this weekend, taking down the heavy-duty holdovers Interstellar and Big Hero 6.
Sandwiched between a weekend where Big Hero 6 and Interstellar took in almost $105 million and a frame where The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 will earn a lot more than that, the sequel to 1994’s Dumb and Dumber was hoping to rock the boat for at least a weekend. It’s been 20 years since Harry and Lloyd arrived on screen, and the question going into the weekend was whether anyone still cared.
1994 was the year of Jim Carrey, as he had three films released that year and each one was bigger than the last. February 1994 saw Ace Ventura: Pet Detective earn $72 million (against a $15 million budget), The Mask earned $120 million in July (against a $23 million budget), and December saw Dumb and Dumber earn $127 million domestically, and almost $250 million worldwide (against a $17 million budget). Could lightning strike twice before Katniss Everdeen would show up and slaughter Harry and Lloyd?
Earlier this week, tracking was indicating a close race between Dumb and Dumber To and the two big holdovers, but Interstellar stalled, leaving a showdown between Big Hero 6 and the comedy sequel. Dumb and Dumber To got started on Thursday, earning $1.6 million from previews, indicating there was still strong memories of Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne. Friday was also very strong, with Dumb and Dumber To winning Friday. It earned $12.6 million on its opening day, or $14.2 million with those Thursday previews included. The combined Friday was just short of what the original earned over its entire opening weekend ($16.4 million). Moving into the weekend, the real question was just how front-loaded this throwback would be. How would Saturday and Sunday compare to the busy Friday?
Over the weekend proper, Dumb and Dumber To earned $38.1 million from 3,154 venues, giving it the number one spot for a few days before The Hunger Games delivers its decimation. It earned $13.9 million on Saturday, behind Big Hero 6, and had a weekend multiplier of 2.7 when we use the full Friday number. When we pull out the sneaks, it rises up to 3.0, which means that the film wasn't quite as front-loaded as many were anticipating. Dumb and Dumber To almost matched its $40 million production budget after only a single weekend of release. For Jim Carrey, the result is a return to glory, as the funny man hasn’t had this big of a live action opening since Bruce Almighty earned $68 million in May 2003. Carrey has struggled in recent years, delivering films like Kick-Ass 2, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins to middling results at best.
Dumb and Dumber To did not get the love that the first one did from critics or audiences, so its lifespan is likely short. Critics gave the first Dumb and Dumber a 65% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes, but the sequel earns only a 27% fresh score from all critics and a 15% rating from the site’s "top critics." The Cinemascore came in at a dreadful B-, the same score that Nic Cage’s Left Behind earned a few weeks ago. This tells me that word-of-mouth is going to be rough, but it still may provide effective counter-programming versus Mockingjay next weekend and will likely be huge overseas.