Weekend Box Office: Home Is Where the Money Is

The DreamWorks Animation release Home scored a box office home run this weekend at the North American box office. The Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard also hit the jackpot with a strong second place finish. Thanks to the big debuts of Home and Get Hard, box office increased a healthy ten percent over last year at this time. The box office should go into overdrive –no pun intended- next weekend when Furious 7 begins its run.

After enduring a 2014 that saw a $263 million write-off thanks to three underperforming films at the box office –Mr. Peabody & Sherman, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Penguins of Madagascar– and substantial staff layoffs to usher in 2015, DreamWorks Animation and its distributor Fox were desperate for some good fortune. Their prayers may have been answered with the new feature Home, which exceeded financial expectations to land the troubled animation studio a whopping $54 million in ticket sales on 3,708 screens.

Critics were lukewarm on the $130 million production featuring the voice talents of Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez but audiences liked what they saw. Reviewer feedback generated a 48% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes but ticket buyers gave the movie an “A” rating on CinemaScore. With the Easter holiday next weekend, upcoming school vacations nationwide and no animated competition to speak of in the foreseeable future, Home should have a long, healthy life ahead of it. Overseas, the film has earned $47 million since opening last weekend in ten markets.

Fans of Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart showed up in big numbers for the R-rated comedy Get Hard, which opened in second place with $34.6 million from 3,175 theaters. Critics, who branded Get Hard with a 32% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, largely dismissed the Etan Cohen-directed tale. The opening was the second-biggest debut for a Kevin Hart film behind Ride Along and a third-best start for a Will Ferrell headliner behind Talladega Nights and The Other Guys.

While the film got off to a great start, its long-term prospects may not be so grand. Audiences gave the movie a middling “B” CinemaScore rating. Mediocre feedback may also be the reasoning behind Saturday’s mere 1.5% increase in business. Even if people aren’t particularly won over by Get Hard, distributor Warner Brothers won’t lose too much sleep over it. The production budget for the film was only $40 million.

Free falling to third place was last week’s number one film The Divergent Series: Insurgent. The futuristic sequel took a 58% tumble in its second weekend to earn $22.1 million on 3,875 screens. After ten days, Insurgent has earned $86.4 million and is looking to finish around $120 million. Should it reach that number, it would put it roughly twenty percent behind Divergent, something that may make Lionsgate think twice in splitting the next book into two movies. The film added $30 million in foreign ticket sales to its total, which now stands at $93.7 million.

Despite the arrival of Home there were still plenty of family business out there for Disney’s Cinderella. The fantasy hit landed in fourth place to earn an estimated $17.5 million in its third frame on 3,815 screens. Off 50%, the Kenneth Branagh feature has earned $150 million so far. Foreign totals are currently at $186 million, of which $65 million has come from China alone.

Rounding out the top five was the sleeper horror film It Follows with $4 million from 1,218 theaters. After two weeks of limited release, the early total for It Follows stands at $4.8 million. The Radius-TWC film was original set to debut on Video On Demand at the same time it started a limited-release theatrical run. However, strong reviews and big numbers generated by that limited number of theaters prompted specialty label Radius to postpone the VOD release and go wider theatrically. The film will add more screens next weekend.

In case you missed it, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence had a new movie in theaters this weekend, the period drama Serena. Never heard of it? Didn’t see it occupying a handful of screens this weekend at your local multiplex like you normally do with a film headlined by Lawrence? There’s a good reason for that. After endless delays –the film was set to open last year- the Susanne Bier feature was dumped onto sixty screens Friday where it was met with dismal reviews and an awful $110,000 weekend gross. Serena has had better luck at home, where it has earned $1 million on VOD since debuting a couple of weeks ago.

The remainder of the top ten:

6. Kingsman: The Secret Service (Fox) $3 million (-34%); $119.4 million

7. Run All Night (Warner) $2.2 million (-56%); $23.8 million

8. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox) $2.18 million (-37%); $28 million

9. Do You Believe? (PFR) $2.15 million (-40%) $7 million

10. The Gunman (Open Road) $2 million (-60%); $8.8 million

Next weekend, it’s all about Furious 7. Estimates currently have the latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise opening around the $110 million mark.


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