If comedy is hard, good family comedy is, like ... way harder.
But credit Fox for making it work this weekend with the second Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie adaptation. The film grossed $24.4 million to lead the domestic box office.
And it deserved the win.
Having plunked down 30 bucks to get the 8-year-old (who's read all of Jeff Kinney's graphic Wimpy Kid novels), my 5-year-old (who can't read yet, but would only be interested if the characters shot each other with laser blasters if he could read) and myself into an early Friday-evening showing, my first thought was, "How are they going to entertain all three of us with a movie shot in Vancouver for $21 million using a no-name cast?
But director David Bowers (Astro Boy) and writers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah captured the sweet but not too sweet tone of the books and made a sequel that was actually a little more fun than last year's first franchise installment.
The film garnered an A-minus from Cinemascore, a company that surveys moviegoers after they've seen the picture, and Fox is certainly already making plans for a third installment.
Finishing second this weekend, Zack Snyder film Sucker Punch succeeded at drawing its target demographic, young dudes ... but not much beyond that.
The film grossed $19 million -- a little over what we projected -- and should recoup its $75 million-plus production cost for co-producers Legendary Films and Warner Bros., once this movie, which is long on hot chicks but short on dialogue, plays in the overseas markets.
Notably, 74 percent of people who saw the film were under the age of 35, and 45 percent of them were under 25 -- an anomaly at a box office which has been dominated by older folks this year.
Oh, and 64 percent of the watchers were male -- big surprise there.
Last week's box office leaders, meanwhile, had solid weekend-No. 2 performances, with Bradley Cooper film Limitless ($15.2 million) and Matthew McConaughey movie The Lincoln Lawyer ($11 million) each declining less than 20 percent from their premieres. A normal weekend-after-debut drop is like 50 percent, so that's pretty good.
Also notable, two films crossed the $100 million mark in the U.S. and Canada.
Paramount's Johnny Depp CG movie Rango grossed $9.8 million in its fourth weekend and now has $106.4 million to show for itself.
Sony's Just Go With It became the 12th Adam Sandler comedy to pass the $100 million threshold -- pretty remarkable stuff -- with the film grossing $1.5 million in its seventh weekend.
Here's how the top 10 films did compared to our Thursday predictions:
|Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 ||Made: $24.4.0M ||We predicted: $20.0M |
|Sucker Punch ||Made: $19.0M || We predicted: $17.0M|
| Limitless ||Made: $15.2M ||We predicted: $13.0M|
| The Lincoln Lawyer ||Made: $11.0M ||We predicted: $10.0M|
| Rango ||Made: $9.8M ||We predicted: $10.0M|
| Battle: Los Angeles ||Made: $7.6M ||We predicted: $6.5M|
| Paul ||Made: $7.5M ||We predicted: $7.0M|
| Red Riding Hood ||Made: $4.3M ||We predicted: $4.0M|
| The Adjustment Bureau ||Made: $4.2M ||We predicted: $3.0M|
| Mars Needs Moms ||Made: $2.2M ||We predicted: $3.5M|