Weekend Box Office: Loveable Idiots Bring In Smart Money

The return of Harry and Lloyd helped Universal nab a number one debut for its comedy Dumb and Dumber To this weekend at the North American box office. The belated sequel to the 1994 comedy hit had a solid debut, while Disney’s animated hit Big Hero 6 and Paramount’s sci-fi epic Interstellar each had a great second weekend.

Twenty years ago next month the comedy Dumb and Dumber opened just before Christmas where it went on to earn $127 million domestically and another $120 million overseas. With such a success on their hands, distributor New Line Cinema undoubtedly wanted more misadventures of Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) sooner rather than later. When it was looking more and more like they weren’t going to get a sequel, New Line opted to do a prequel in 2003 instead. Without Carrey, Daniels or the Farrellys attached to it Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd turned out to be a mistake that was quickly forgotten, eeking out a dismal $26 million at the box office.

It took another decade, but the much hoped for reunion finally happened. Universal’s Dumb and Dumber To arrived this past Friday on 3,154 screens where it earned a smart $38 million. The $40 million production reunites stars Carrey and Daniels with directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Dumber To tells the tale of Harry and Lloyd’s journey to find the child Harry knew he never had. The comedy also stars Laurie Holden, Kathleen Turner and Rob Riggle. Reviews for the PG-13 comedy were largely negative, but fans of the original didn’t seem to care.

The $38 million opening for Dumber To was the biggest live-action debut Carrey has had since Bruce Almighty opened to $67.9 million in 2003. The opening is also a career best for the Farrellys. While fans turned out in big numbers for the opening, the longevity of Dumber To is still up in the air. Whereas every film in the top ten this weekend saw its business go up on Saturday, Dumb and Dumber To saw its grosses go in the opposite direction. This may just be the effect of diehard fans of the original rushing out to see it on opening day or it may signal less-than-kind feedback. Next weekend will prove to be the true test for the film.

Despite landing in second place for the weekend Disney’s Big Hero 6 actually led the box office on both Saturday and Sunday (Dumber beat it on Friday by $6 million). The animated hit eased a mere 36% in its sophomore session on 3,773 screens to earn an estimated $36 million. After ten days Hero 6 has earned a great $111.6 million. The film should continue to bring in the big bucks through Thanksgiving and straight into December passing the $200 million mark in the process. Foreign totals currently stand at $36 million.

Interstellar also had a great second week of business as the Christopher Nolan epic descended 38% to collect an estimated $29 million from 3,561 screens. Thus far, the $165 million production has pocketed a solid $97.8 million and could work its way to $175-180 million. The film has been a powerhouse overseas, where it earned a spectacular $102 million this weekend, of which $42 million came from China. Helping tremendously with the film’s $321.9 million gross have been IMAX theaters. The worldwide gross for Interstellar on the large screen format has been $50 million.

In fourth place for the weekend was Relativity’s urban drama Beyond the Lights with a meek $6.5 million from 1,789 screens. The romantic drama starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Danny Glover and Minnie Driver and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees) received strong notices from the nation’s critics (84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes) but failed to attract much in the way of an audience.

Rounding out the top five was Fox’s long running hit Gone Girl, which earned an additional $4.6 million on 1,959 screens. Off only 25% the David Fincher blockbuster has earned a great $152.6 million domestically and another $166 million overseas. Showing strong holding power despite the arrival of big holiday blockbusters Gone Girl should continue to sell tickets throughout the month of November if not longer if it gets some year-end award recognition. The $170-175 million range is not out of the question at this point.

The remainder of the top ten is as follows:

  1. St. Vincent (Weinstein) $4 million (-25%); $33.2 million
  2. Fury (2014) (Sony) $3.8 million (-32%); $75.9 million
  3. Nightcrawler (Open Road) $3 million (-43%); $25 million
  4. Ouija (Universal) $3 million (-48%); $48.1 million
  5. Birdman (Fox Searchlight) $2.45 million (+6%); $11.5 million

Next weekend belongs to Katniss Everdeen as the third Hunger Games film Mockingjay Part One begins its conquest of the 2014 Box Office Thursday night. Nothing else will come close.

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