November 15, 2014

EARLY WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: “Dumb and Dumber To” Outsmarts “Big Hero 6″”


Belying its title, DUMB AND DUMBER TO (Red Granite/Universal) picked a strategically smart weekend to debut, facing very little fresh competition (because of last weekend’s Big Hero 6/Interstellar double bill and next week’s The Hunger Games installment) and even less comedy.  The result was a strong $13.9M Friday (including $1.6M from Thursday night) according to preliminary numbers at Deadline, which should give it a $35M+ weekend.  With a $40M production budget and a less than A-level marketing campaign, that should leave plenty of room for profit.

The weekend race will be close between Dumb and BIG HERO 6 (Disney), which was in 3rd place on Friday with $8.2M, but figures to zoom up with the weekend’s matinees.  The Friday number was down slightly less than 50% from last week’s opening day, which is solid but not exceptional for a family movie, as recently Alexander and the Terrible… dropped just 38% on its 2d Friday, The Boxtrolls was down 44%, and Book of Life fell 52%.  (Comparisons to other November animations that open on the gigantic Thanksgiving weekend, like Tangled, aren’t apples to apples.)  Big Hero should have a $33-34M weekend, so it could easily take the title if Dumb falters.

INTERSTELLAR (Paramount/Warners) held well in 3rd place, down almost exactly 50% from last Friday to $8.5M, which is a better number in the sci-fi/action genre than for a family film.  That drop should moderate to around 40% for the weekend, giving Interstellar around $28M.  Those still aren’t blockbuster numbers, but they suggest solid word of mouth, and the film should also have an enormous weekend overseas, where early box office in China has been very promising.

The weekend’s other wide opening was BEYOND THE LIGHTS (Relativity), which despite strong reviews was very mild with a $2.3M Friday at 1789 theatres.  It may not reach $7M for the weekend, especially since its target female African-American audience tends to be frontloaded.

BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight) finally expanded to semi-wide release in its 5th weekend, almost doubling its theatre count to 857, but it’s having trouble connecting with non-arthouse viewers.  Its $662K Friday is, if anything, a bit lower than last Friday’s result, which means its per-theatre average for the weekend may not get to $3000.  That’s only about half of the average 12 Years a Slave had when it reached a wider release of 1144 theatres, and roughly equal to the average Blue Jasmine had in an even wider break at 1283.  It’s in the same neighborhood as the $2600 average Boyhood had when it hit 771 theatres, which may imply that Boyhood‘s $23.9M total could be where Birdman ends up as well.

ROSEWATER (Open Road) had a mid-level release at 371 theatres, where it seems headed for an OK $4K average.

FOXCATCHER (Sony Classics), at 6 NY/LA theatres, appears to be headed for just around the same $40K per-theatre average that The Theory of Everything had last weekend at 5.

The rest of the Top 10 was made up of the usual long-running suspects, notably GONE GIRL (20th) (tonight’s winner of the Hollywood Film Award, for whatever that’s worth), which dropped just 31% from last Friday to $1.3M and should have a $4.5M weekend that will put it over $150M in the US; ST VINCENT (Weinstein), also down 31% to $1.1M and headed for a $4M weekend; and FURY (QED/Columbia/Sony), down 35% also to $1.1M and on track for a $3.5-4M weekend.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."