Weekend Report: 'Neighbors' Hazes 'Spider-Man'
by Ray Subers
May 11, 2014
Seth Rogen and Zac Efron hosted a party at the movies this weekend, and audiences showed up in droves for it.
Playing at 3,279 locations, Neighbors opened to an incredible $49 million. That's one of the biggest debuts ever for an original R-rated comedy.
Meanwhile, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell hard in its second outing. Still, the superhero sequel is making up for its domestic shortcomings with strong overseas earnings.
Among original R-rated comedies, Neighbors trailed Ted ($54.4 million) and Sex and the City ($57 million, and debatably "original"). At the same time, it was ahead of major R-rated hits like The Hangover, The Heat and 21 Jump Street. It's also the biggest debut ever for a live-action Seth Rogen movie ahead of The Green Hornet ($33.5 million).
From its first preview, Neighbors looked like a hit. The comedy had a relatable, clearly-articulated premise ("Family vs. Frat") that was hammered home in all of the marketing material. That included plenty of strong visual jokes—the airbag was particularly memorable—that flowed naturally from that set-up. Universal's aggressive, confident marketing campaign began last year, and culminated with a publicity blitz and tons of word-of-mouth screenings. Even with all of this, though, a debut close to $50 million is nothing short of remarkable.
Neighbors is Universal's fourth original movie to open in first place at the domestic box office this year: the other three are Lone Survivor, Ride Along and Non-Stop. Each movie has served as a reminder that audiences crave fresh stories that feature characters they can relate to.
The audience for Neighbors was 53 percent female and 47 percent under the age of 25. That suggests Efron had as much to do with this debut as Rogen. Of course, let's not forget about Rose Byrne, who showed off comedy chops in Universal's 2011 hit Bridemaids, and surely helped get some women to the movie as well.
Neighbors received a "B" CinemaScore, which isn't great for an R-rated comedy. Add in the younger-than-average audience, and this may not hold up as well as movies like The Heat or Ted. Still, it's a safe bet that it winds up with at least $140 million.
In second place, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell 61 percent to $35.5 million. That drop is noticeably worse than that of recent Marvel movies Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (56 to 58 percent). It is nearly identical to Spider-Man 3's drop (61.5 percent), which was notoriously front-loaded back in 2007.
Still, Spider-Man faces brutal competition from Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past in the next two weeks, and should therefore continue its steep descent. To date, it's earned $146.2 million, and is on pace to finish between $205 and $215 million.
Neighbors didn't seem to have any effect on The Other Woman, which eased 33 percent to $9.61 million. So far, the Cameron Diaz comedy has grossed $62.1 million.
In fourth place, Heaven is for Real was off a light 13 percent to $7.5 million. Through four weekends, the faith-based hit has brought in an impressive $75.7 million.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier rounded out the Top Five with $5.75 million (down just 26 percent). With $245.1 million, it's now the highest-grossing April release ever ahead of My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($241.4 million).
Opening at 1,044 theaters, Moms' Night Out earned $4.3 million this weekend. While it's a fairly modest release, the success of faith-based movies this year coupled with the strong Mother's Day release date makes this number a very slight disappointment.
The problem, of course, was that Moms' Night Out was lacking any obvious faith-affirming content. In comparison, recent hits God's Not Dead and Heaven is for Real have it right there in the title.
Moms' Night Out looks like a massive success, though, when compared to Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return. Rookie distributor Clarius Entertainment released the animated movie in to 2,575 locations, where it earned a paltry $3.71 million. That's one of the lowest debuts ever for a movie at over 2,500 theaters.
Legends of Oz received a light marketing push, and what was on display wasn't particularly appealing to anyone except young children. Unfortunately, kids don't make the purchasing decision: that's left to parents, who likely balked at the cheap-looking animation and shrill previews. Ultimately, this may creep past $10 million, though not by much.
Jon Favreau's Chef opened to $204,961 at six theaters. That translates to a solid $34,160 per-theater average. The movie is set to expand over the next few weeks, though a nationwide date isn't yet available.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 once again led the international box office this weekend. The movie added $69.5 million for an impressive $403 million total.
Its biggest market was China, where it earned $25.1 million in its first fully weekend. Through eight days, it's grossed $54 million there (already roughly on par with the first Amazing Spider-Man).
Assuming it doesn't completely collapse from here, it's a safe bet that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 closes above its predecessor's $490 million.
Coinciding with its domestic debut, Neighbors opened in 29 foreign markets and earned a very impressive $34.4 million. That's more than This is the End made in its entire run ($24.6 million).
The movie is known as Bad Neighbours in the U.K. and Australia, which were both huge markets for it this weekend. Including previews, it opened to $14.7 million in the U.K. and $7.1 million in Australia. Both of those are best-ever results for Seth Rogen. It also took first place in 15 other markets, so it's well-positioned to be a major international hit ($100 million is a guarantee at this point).
Frozen held first place in Japan for the ninth-straight weekend. To date, its earned $164.4 million there, which is more than twice as much as it has earned anywhere else outside the U.S.
On a worldwide basis, Frozen has grossed over $1.19 billion. It's now only $25 million away from moving up to fifth place all-time ahead of Iron Man 3.
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This Weekend's Forecast:
• Forecast: 'Neighbors' Set to Party Hard Over Mother's Day Weekend
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2013 - 'Gatsby' Great, But 'Iron Man' Leads Again
• 2012 - 'Avengers' Shatters More Records, 'Shadows' Mostly Sucks
• 2011 - 'Thor' Holds on to Throne, 'Bridesmaids' a Strong Second
• 2010 - 'Iron Man 2' Buckles But Still Burns, 'Robin Hood' More Merry Than Medieval
• 2009 - 'Star Trek' Prospers
• 2008 - 'Iron Man' Builds, 'Speed Racer' Burns
• 2007 - 'Spider-Man 3' Unravels But Rules
• 2006 - 'Poseidon' Capsizes, Cruise Clings to Top Spot
• 2005 - 'Monster-in-Law' Claws to the Top
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic