Box Office Report: Won't You Be My Number One? 'Neighbors' Knocks Back Spidey

Box Office Report: Won't You Be My Number One? 'Neighbors' Knocks Back Spidey

May 11, 2014

Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Neighbors - $51.1 million ($51.1 million total)

2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - $37.2 million ($147.9 million total)

3. The Other Woman - $9.2 million ($61.7 million total)

4. Heaven Is for Real - $7.0 million ($75.2 million total)

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - $5.6 million ($244.9 million total)

6. Rio 2 - $5.1 million ($113.1 million total)

7. Mom's Night Out - $4.2 million ($4.2 million total)

8. Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return - $3.7 million ($3.7 million total)

9. Divergent - $1.7 million ($145.0 million total)

10. Brick Mansions - $1.4 million ($18.3 million total)

The Big Stories

Should Sony be embarrassed that its big summer kickoff was dethroned in just one week? Or should the folks at Universal be patting themselves on the back for the immense promotion for their first big summer opener out of the box? More credit goes to Universal than shame over at Sony, which continues to do very well globally. But it was stated in this column last week that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was going to fall to Neighbors this week. The good news for Marc Webb's film is that it could have been much worse.

 

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Much of the emphasis in box office stories this week will be the negative impact of Spider-Man's decline, but it should be on the success of Nicholas Stoller's Neighbors. This is the widest launch for any of his films - a list that includes Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek and The Five-Year Engagement. Not only is it a career-best opening for him by more than double, it is also the biggest opening of Seth Rogen's not counting his voiceover work in films like Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens and Horton Hears a Who! (Let's all not forget about Paul either.)

Neighbors ($51.1), The Green Hornet ($33.5), Superbad ($33.0), Knocked Up ($30.6), Pineapple Express ($23.2), Funny People ($22.6), You Me and Dupree ($21.5), The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($21.4), This Is the End ($20.7), Observe and Report ($11.0), Zack and Miri Make a Porno ($10.0), 50/50 ($8.6), The Guilt Trip ($5.2)

This is great news for Rogen who, despite The Green Hornet's solid opening, has not had the kind of major hit since the summer of Knocked Up and Superbad. Pineapple Express did quite well but then the disappointments followed. That all changed last year when This Is the End became one of the best word-of-mouth films of the summer. Sony even rereleased the film after it had winded down just to pull in those last few bucks to get it over the $100-million hump. And don't think the studio won't try that for Heaven Is for Real if it can as the movie is now up over $75 million.

At a budget of only $18 million, Neighbors looks to be Universal's most profitable film in a year that is shaping up to be a great one. Since the studio's whole 47 Ronin debacle, which it couldn't wait to get off the books, it rebounded with both Non-Stop and Ride Along, both among the year's top five most profitable films. The latter's $134 million is going to be challenged by Neighbors and with even a smaller budget is likely to surpass its success both in gross and profit. It is a decidedly light summer for the studio since Fast & Furious 7 was rescheduled. It may not even have as big a success as Neighbors, but Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West and The Purge: Anarchy should do well enough to keep its streak going (only Endless Love failed to achieve) before another six releases in August and September.

 

Amazing? No. But Not a Disaster. Yet.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened to $95 million with an 89% at Rotten Tomatoes and tremendous word of mouth. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened to $91.6 million with a 54% approval and horrible response from fans. Captain America dropped over 56% in its second weekend with $41 million. Therefore a 59% drop from Spider-Man was a foregone conclusion, but it could have been so much worse. Here are the comic book-inspired releases which all fell harder in their second weekend.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (70.7%), Hulk (69.7%), Elektra (69.0%), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (69%), Watchmen (67.7%), Punisher: War Zone (67.6%), Kick-Ass 2 (67.2%), X-Men: The Last Stand (66.9%), Green Lantern (66.1%), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (65.5%), Man of Steel (64.6%), Batman and Robin (63.3%), Dredd (62.3%), Catwoman (61.5%), Spider-Man 3 (61.5%), The Dark Knight Rises (61.4%), Captain America: The First Avenger (60.7%), The Incredible Hulk (60.1%), The Wolverine (59.9%), Constantine (59.5%), Iron Man 2 (59.4%), Iron Man 3 (58.4%)

Granted both The Dark Knight Rises and Spider-Man 3 are amongst the biggest openers of all time and Iron Man 2, Man of Steel and X-Men: The Last Stand were also $100 million starters. But The Amazing Spider-Man 2 could have easily fallen to the depths of X-Men Origins or Hulk with the sheer force of its poisonous word of mouth. With over $550 million worldwide it is only about $40 million away from getting Sony off the hook for its enormous budget. It will clear at least that on the homefront, though maybe not double that. Meanwhile Captain America: The Winter Soldier will pass $700 million worldwide this week and while ASM2 may still surpass that, the Captain will be far more profitable.

If the studio intends to continue this version of the franchise (and it seems it is with two more chapters scheduled for June 10, 2016 and May 4, 2018) it is going to have to find a way to get the budget under $200 million. We can probably also expect Sony to go a new direction by replacing director Marc Webb and finding a storyline that gets fans back on board. Because with part two it has likely lost many of them for at least the summer of 2016.


- Erik Childress can be seen each Thursday morning on WCIU-TV's First Business breaking down the box office on the Movies & Money segment.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

 

 

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