To do it, they brought in a better-than-expected $38.1 million for Universal Pictures and had to hold off a stiff challenge from last weekend’s top movie, Disney Animation’s “Big Hero 6,” which rolled up $36 million for second. Christopher Nolan‘s “Interstellar” was next, with $29.1 million in its second week for Paramount Pictures.
The weekend’s other wide opener, the low-budget romantic drama “Beyond the Lights,” was fourth with $6.5 million for Relativity Media.
The triumph by “Dumb and Dumber To” gave Universal its seventh No. 1 opening of the year, and the $40 million Red Granite production will be a financial winner. The decidedly low-brow “Dumb and Dumber To” struck a chord with audiences, who might normally be focused on more sophisticated awards fare at this time of year.
“There’s a moviegoing core out there that simply wants to be entertained,” Universal’s distribution chief Nikki Rocco told TheWrap, “and that’s just what this movie did.”
The big debut for “Dumb and Dumber To” was more than a nostalgia trip. Fans of the original turned out, but so did young people, with 44 percent of the audience under the age of 25. Men made up 55 percent of the crowd, which gave the comedy follow-up a “B'” CinemaScore. And the fact that it was the first live-action comedy in the marketplace didn’t hurt.
“Dumb and Dumber To” is the best live-action opening for Carrey since “Bruce Almighty” debuted with $67 million in 2003. And it’s easily the highest ever for directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly, ahead of the $22.5 million that “Shallow Hal” debuted with in 2003.
“Big Hero 6” held well, dropping less than 36 percent from its debut last week, and in the process pushed its domestic total past $111 million. It’s rolling out slowly overseas, and its global total after two weeks is $148 million.
The strong weekend for “Big Hero” — along with earlier strong showings by “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Maleficent” — helped Disney cross the $4 billion mark at the global box office for the second year in a row.
“Interstellar” held nearly as well, and the space epic starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway was off just 40 percent from last week. IMAX played a major role again, with 368 of the giant screens providing $7.4 million of the domestic haul and accounting for nine of the top ten highest-grossing locations.
Its domestic total is up to $97.8 million and, with another $224 million from overseas where Warner Bros. is distributing, it’s up to $321 million worldwide in two weeks.
The good news for “Beyond the Lights,” the first film to be released under Relativity’s newly formed multicultural division, was the “A” CinemaScore it received from audiences. The reviews have been strong as well (84 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes) for the film written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball”) and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker.
The crowd was 49 percent African-American, 61 percent were women and 55 percent was over 25 years of age.
The Weinstein Company’s Bill Murray-Melissa McCarthy comedy “St. Vincent” and Sony’s Brad Pitt World War II saga “Fury followed, with both around $3.7 million. Universal’s teen horror tale “Quija” ($3 million) and the Jake Gyllenhaal thriller “Nightcrawler” ($2.8 million) were next.
Fox Searchlight’s “Birdman,” the dark comedy directed by Alejandro Inarritu and starring Michael Keaton, cracked the top ten in its nationwide expansion. It went from 460 theaters to 857 and brought in $2.4 million this weekend, lifting the domestic total for the awards hopeful to $11.5 million.
The overall box office was up around 13 percent over the comparable weekend last year, when “Thor: The Dark World” topped the charts with $36 million in its second week.