The oddball alien Oh and Tip the Earth girl from “Home” are pulling a fast one on Kevin Hart, Will Ferrell and their raunchy comedy “Get Hard” at the box office, taking the top spot with $15.6 million Friday.
That means the first, and only, DreamWorks Animation release of the year will knock off “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” for No. 1 this weekend and have a good shot at a $55 million opening weekend. Distributor Fox landed the 3D family film in a market-high 3,708 theaters and it is outstripping analysts’ expectations by nearly $20 million. The performance is welcome news for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s struggling studio, which is in the midst of a massive restructuring after a two-year run of mainly disappointing releases.
Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin provide the voice cast for “Home,” which has a production budget of $135 million and is critical to the studio’s bottom line this year. The small fry sci-fi tale will have to perform abroad as well to get into the black, and overseas returns — $20 million from just 10 markets in its first weekend – look good so far.
The R-rated prison comedy “Get Hard” took in nearly $13 million from 3,176 theaters Friday and is heading for a roughly $35 million debut, which is in line with projections and would make it a win for Warner Bros., given its $40 million production budget.
Lionsgate’s “Insurgent,” the second film in the young adult sci-fi series, is heading for a $23 million second weekend — roughly 55 percent off its opening — and third place after bringing in $6.8 million Friday. The weekend’s other wide opener, the R-rated teen horror film “It Follows,” is looking at a $3.6 million three-day total after taking in $1.4 million from 1,218 theaters Friday for Radius-TWC.
The eye-popping performance of DWA’s “Home,” which is directed by Tim Johnson and features several musical numbers, stole the spotlight.
On its current pace, its opening will be the best for a DWA release since “Kung Fu Panda” ($60.2 million in 2008) and “Monsters vs. Aliens ($59.3 million in 2009), and better than the first weekend of “Shrek” ($42.3 million in 2001), “The Croods” ($43.6 million in 2013) and the two “How to Train Your Dragon” movies ($43.7 million in 2010 and $49.4 million last year).
The last three were franchise-launching global hits, and “Dragon 2” provided DWA’s lone bright spot last year with more than $618 million at the worldwide box office last year. A big win for “Home” would hit the spot for the studio, which posted a $247 million fourth-quarter loss last month. That was after laying off 500 workers, announcing plans to sell its Glendale, Calif. campus and cutting back its slate as part of a $210 million restructuring plan in January.
“Home” received an “A” CinemaScore from hungry family audiences who hadn’t seen a new animated movie in the marketplace since “The SpongeBob Movie” in early February. That top grade from moviegoers is significant, because the PG-rated “Home” will have the family film field to itself until June 19, when Disney’s “Inside Out” arrives. The reviews haven’t been great, but the positive word of mouth and an open field make a strong and lengthy run likely.
“Get Hard” received a “B” CinemaScore from audiences, who weathered the storm of criticism directed at the prison satire over its humor that some found racist and homophobic.
On its current pace, “Get Hard” will fall short of the opening of “Ride Along,” another buddy comedy that co-starred Ice Cube and opened to $41 million in January 2014, and 2006’s “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky and Bobby,” Ferrell’s top debut at $47 million.
But it will be the best since 2010’s “The Other Guys” for Ferrell, who has since endured a string of misses including “Anchorman 2,” “The Campaign” and “Casa de Mi Padre.” And it will be Hart’s second-highest debut ever, ahead of “Think Like a Man,’ which opened to $33.6 million in March two years ago.
“Cinderella” topped “It Follows” for fourth with $4.7 million, and the Disney fairy tale is on its way to a $17 million third week that would up its domestic total to $150 million.
Radius delayed its standard video-on-demand strategy on “It Follows,” after the well-reviewed and sexy horror film scored in its limited opening. It averaged $1,150 per-theater and is headed for profitability since its budget is under $2 million, with a VOD run yet to come.
Fox’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and Fox Searchlights’s “The Second Best Marigold Hotel” followed. The Colin Firth spy spoof will finish its seventh week in the top ten with $3 million and be up to $120 million domestically, and over $300 million globally with this weekend’s China debut to come. The “Marigold Hotel” sequel will take in $2.3 million and top $28 million domestically in its fourth week. Both films dropped just 35 percent from last week.
The overall box office is up roughly 15 percent over the comparable weekend last year, when “Noah” led the way with $43 million.