Playing at 3,708 locations, Home is the 31st feature-length movie from DreamWorks Animation, and their sixth under their distribution deal with 20th Century Fox. Their first title together was The Croods, which was a hit with $187.2 million. Since then, though, the track record at the domestic box office has been spotty at best. Turbo was a flop with $83 million, while Mr. Peabody & Sherman disappointed with $111.5 million.
Last Summer, the second How to Train Your Dragon wound up earning 19 percent less than its predecessor. That drop paled in comparison to Penguins of Madagascar, which was off a whopping 62 percent from the previous movie in that franchise. After that miss, DreamWorks opted to reshape their upcoming lineup: they dropped from three to two movies per year, and are only releasing a single movie (Home) in 2015. Will Home return DreamWorks to its glory days when $150 million at the domestic box office was a safe bet? Probably not.
As usual for a DreamWorks movie, Home features solid voice talent, with Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin bringing the main characters to life. Beyond that, though, it's hard to see how this holds much appeal for adults (who are, after all, the ones actually paying for family movies). The movie feels like it's from a different era, and not in a good way: the "girl meets alien" storyline feels derivative of 2002's Lilo & Stitch, and a lengthy bit from the trailer prominently features 2002 Sean Paul song "Get Busy."
Still, awareness seems to be high, and major animated releases can only open so low. Penguins of Madagascar and Turbo earned $35.4 million and $31 million, respectively, over their first five days (they each opened on a Wednesday), while Mr. Peabody & Sherman debuted to $32.2 million around the same time last year. Fox is expecting Home to wind up in the same range this weekend.
Meanwhile, Fandango is reporting that the movie is out-selling Rio 2 ($39.3 million) and The Croods ($43.6 million), which is a fairly good sign. Ultimately, an opening north of $30 million seems likely.
Regardless of how it does in the U.S., Home does seem to be set up for success at the international box office. Through Wednesday, it had already earned $25.9 million overseas; that includes a massive $9.2 million debut in the U.K., which is tops for DreamWorks outside of the Shrek franchise.
Indie horror movie It Follows was originally supposed to play in a select group of theaters for a few weeks ahead of a VOD release. After the movie averaged north of $40,000 per theater in its debut, though, distributor Radius-TWC scraped that plan and opted instead for a nationwide release; this weekend, its expanding to 1,218 theaters.
The movie has strong word-of-mouth and fantastic reviews (94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), though that's not really enough to drive big numbers in wide release. Without support from a traditional marketing effort—in-theater promotion, television ads, etc.—it's likely that this winds up under $5 million this weekend.
Writer/director Noah Baumbach's While We're Young opens in New York and Los Angeles this weekend. Baumbach's last two movies, Frances Ha and Greenberg, each wrapped up with just over $4 million at the domestic box office. They each also averaged north of $30,000 per theater in their New York/Los Angeles debuts.
While We're Young has a solid cast—aside from Greenberg's Ben Stiller, it also has Naomi Watts, Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried—and has received strong reviews (83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). With little else in the market for discerning adult moviegoers, it's a safe bet that this winds up averaging at least $30,000 per theater this weekend.
From there, distributor A24 plans to take the movie "nationwide" on April 10th. If it does make it to over 600 theaters, that would be the widest release by far for Baumbach; his previous high was Frances Ha, which reached 233 theaters in its fourth weekend.
Forecast (March 27-29)
1. Get Hard - $34 million
2. Home - $33 million
3. Insurgent - $22 million (-58%)
4. Cinderella - $19.2 million (-45%)
-. It Follows - $3.1 million
Bar for Success
Mr. Peabody & Sherman opened to $32.2 million around this same time last year, and was considered a disappointment. At a minimum, Home (2015) ought to be getting close to that number (at least $30 million). With the combined star power and aggressive marketing effort, Get Hard needs at least $25 million this weekend.
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