Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
November 18, 2014
Kim Hollis: Dumb and Dumber To, the 20 years later sequel to the comedy featuring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, earned $36.1 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Matthew Huntley: I'm torn by this result and I'll tell you why. On the one hand, Dumb and Dumber To helped reinvigorate the box office and gave the marketplace even more breadth. Hollywood is healthy right now and I'm optimistic it will keep on growing from now until the end of the year. On the other, Dumb and Dumber To sucked and, to be quite frank, it's not worthy of these numbers in my opinion. I fear people will now be tempted to see it, give it even more money, and we'll have another lousy follow-up in the future, or one like it from another franchise. To me, this movie exemplifies lazy filmmaking and over-reliance on the original. Good numbers; bad movie.
Jason Barney: With respect to the film and its success, I was in the camp that was rolling its eyes when some projections showed an opening weekend below $20 million. Our own Reagen Sulewski projected a dismal $16 million. While I understand the cynicism about the project, it went against a developing calendar-related wave. For the last couple of years, just like the summer months, the holiday season is a very lucrative time of year for studios. Perhaps it’s the colder temperatures, but people just want to get out and be entertained as the days get shorter. Maybe it is a cultural phenomenon. The movie industry has certainly identified it. I believe Dumb and Dumber To actually benefited from a sweet spot in the schedule. Two legit blockbusters last week have people talking, and there is A LOT of energy leading up to next weekend with the arrival of the latest Hunger Games entry. It is a good time to in the film industry.
The budget came in somewhere between $35 and $40 million, and with an opening weekend that basically repays the investment, Universal can sit back and relax. Even if this film isn’t that good (the Flixster score is declining and the RT score is pretty bad at 27%), it doesn’t matter. This is the type of option that will hang around for some laughs during the Thanksgiving weekend and throughout the Holidays. It is going to make a good amount of money. When the serious side of life seemingly is so dismal, like elections that don’t matter, ongoing wars and conflicts overseas, stuff like Ebola…audiences are willing to just be taken away by a film like Dumb and Dumber To.
Edwin Davies: This is more than I expected, but only by about $5 million or so. Nostalgia can be a very powerful thing, and the original Dumb and Dumber is pretty much the textbook example of a nostalgic work. It's indelibly tied to the era in which it was made and has built a pretty sizable following through being a staple of home video and cable, and through being known as one of the films that made Jim Carrey one of the biggest movie stars of the 1990s. While the very idea of making a sequel seemed like a very calculating and cynical move from everyone involved (except possibly Jeff Daniels, who probably just felt like it'd be a laugh), it tapped into a rich vein of goodwill left largely untapped for 20 years (if you discount When Harry Met Lloyd, which we all should). Clearly people were more than willing to spend a bit more time with those idiots, and the ads suggested that there would be enough jokes to make the return worthwhile. The reviews tell another story, but the film has already achieved what it needs to in order to see a profit. That's got to be counted as a win for Jim Carrey and the Farelly Brothers, though perhaps not for the audience.
Kim Hollis: This was about what I expected. We had a premiere for the film here a few weeks ago with Jeff Daniels attending and there seemed to be some excitement around it that I wasn't anticipating. With 20 years gone by, you had a good chance at reaching both the people who loved the first film originally and the generation following that had discovered it on video.
David Mumpower: What I find interesting is the manner in which Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd bombed. The fauxquel without Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey grossed only $26.2 million during its domestic run. Meanwhile, Carrey's career has been an unmitigated disaster over the past five years. So, people didn't like a second attempt at the concept and they didn't like Carrey, either. Then, nostalgia somehow kicked in, allowing Dumb and Dumber To to earn more on opening weekend than the fauxquel managed during its entire run. I think this is one of the most fascinating results of 2014 in that it seems to support the idea that if the trailer is funny, consumers provide absolution about everything else.