Jennifer Aniston‘s pot comedy "We’re the Millers" has been doing a first-rate Energizer bunny imitation and will cross the $100 million mark at the domestic box office later this week.
It's been going and going since opening to $26 million on Aug. 7, and was at $92.7 million as of Tuesday, impressive for a movie that New Line produced for $37 million.
Also near the milestone is Sony's raunchy Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg comedy "This Is the End," which opened back in June, and was at $96.7 million on Tuesday. With just a $32 million budget, it's a big win for the studio, too.
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“I don’t think a lot of people saw this kind of success coming for 'The Millers,' or “This Is the End,'" Exhibitor Relations vice-president and senior analyst Jeff Bock tells TheWrap. "But I think audiences get a kick out of movies that sort of push the envelope in terms of taste, and they were genuinely funny.”
The success of those two and a handful of other R-rated comedies has been a bright spot at the domestic box office this summer
Universal's Melissa McCarthy-Sandra Bullock buddy film "The Heat" has made $156 million and Warner Bros.’ “The Hangover Part III” made it to $112 million. And "Kevin Hart's Let Me Explain" brought in $32 million for Summit — on a $2.5 million budget.
This being Hollywood, the popularity of those films ensures there will be more of the same next summer.
There are already a handful of comedies slotted for 2014, including John Favreau's "Chef" from Open Road, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, and Zac Efron‘s "Neighbors," both set for May 9. Seth MacFarlane's "A Million Ways to Die in the West" from Universal will be out May 30.
Also on tap are Sony's Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill sequel "22 Jump Street" (June 13) and Melissa McCarthy's "Tammy" from Warner Bros. and Sony's "Sex Tape," starring Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, both scheduled to open on July 2.
Those films are rated yet, but given the subject matter and previous efforts from the filmmakers, it’s a good bet most will be rated R.
Aniston plays a stripper and co-stars in “We’re the Miller’s” with Jason Sudeikis. He plays a pot dealer who creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico. Rawson Marshall Thurber directs and Will Poulter and Emma Roberts play the other faux family members.
The critics didn’t much like it (47 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes) but audiences did, and it received an "A-" CinemaScore. Warner Bros. and New Line believed they could turn that positive word of mouth into staying power, and they have.
Over the past two weekends, it’s dropped just 32 and 27 percent from the previous weekend. Those are strong holds; a 50 percent drop is seen as good.
With those numbers it should keep playing for a few more weeks, so a domestic total equal to or above two of Aniston’s previous hits, 2011’s "Horrible Bosses" ($117 million) and 2006's "Just Go With It" ($118 million) is likely.
It's even doing OK overseas, not a given for U.S. comedies, especially R-rated. It's brought in $23 million from the U.K., Russia and a handful of other territories, with Germany, Mexico, France and Brazil to come.
"This Is the End" has brought in nearly $17 million overseas.