“Neighbors” is on track to gross $16 to $18 million Friday, with Universal estimating the movie will gross $40 to $45 million by the end of the weekend. That is far more than the studio projected heading into the weekend, though all studios try to manage expectations.
Friday estimates also indicate “Neighbors” will dethrone “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which is projected to gross $40 million this weekend. “Spider-Man” remains a monster overseas, and it has already grossed more than $450 million worldwide.
The projections for “Neighbors” should continue to climb given positive word of mouth for the raunchy comedy, which has a 74 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. An opening of more than $40 million would outpace some of the biggest comedy hits in recent memory (including “Wedding Crashers” and “Knocked Up”), but they tend to benefit from repeat viewings that sustain grosses for weeks on-end.
“Neighbors” stars Seth Rogen and Zac Efron and was directed by “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” filmmaker Nicholas Stoller. Efron plays the president of a fraternity that moves in next to a married couple (Rogen and Rose Byrne) with a newborn. The couple is riven by a desire to seem cool by retaining their youth and the rigors of maturity and parenthood.
The movie grossed $2.56 million from late-night shows Thursday night, an indicator that the movie was going to exceed initial expectations at the box office.
“Neighbors” grossed more in late shows than some of last year’s biggest comedies, including “Anchorman 2,” “We’re the Millers” and “This Is the End.” All of those movies debuted late Tuesday night for a Wednesday wide release, whereas “Neighbors” will open over a standard three-day weekend.