Adult comedies have had a mostly rough time at the box office recently, and the latest to suffer from this trend is New Line/Village Roadshow’s “The House,” which stars Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler as a married couple who start up an illegal casino to raise money for their daughter’s college fund.
Distributed by Warner Bros. in 3,134 locations, the film is looking at an opening of just $9 million against a reported budget of $40 million and pre-weekend box office projections of $12 million. For Will Ferrell, it’s the worst opening weekend for any of his movies with a screen count of over 3,000 locations, even lower than the $15 million made in 2008 by “Semi-Pro” and the $13.8 million made by “Zoolander No. 2” last year.
“We’re so disappointed. We had much higher hopes,” WB Domestic Distribution President Jeff Goldstein told TheWrap. “It’s unfortunate that ‘The House’ didn’t resonate with a wider audience, though we had early screenings where people enjoyed the movie.”
To find a wide release film that grossed lower than “The House” and had Ferrell in the leading role, we have to go back to 1999, when “Superstar” made $8.9 million from 2,061 screens.
That said, adult comedies in general are having a tough time gaining traction. Columbia’s female-powered “Rough Night” had a nearly identical opening two weeks ago, grossing $8 million from 3,162 screens. Through three frames, the film has made $30 million worldwide against a $20 million budget.
Before “Rough Night,” Paramount’s “Baywatch” made only $23.1 million on Memorial Day weekend against a $69 million budget and went on to gross just $151 million worldwide. And before that was Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s “Snatched,” an Amy Schumer vehicle that made $19.5 million on Mothers’ Day Weekend and just grossed $58.4 million worldwide against a $42 million budget.
Next month will see another female-driven adult comedy, Universal’s “Girls Trip,” try to turn the trend around on July 21 with a cast of African-American women featuring Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Hadish. But the biggest adult comedy of the month may be something completely different: Amazon/Lionsgate’s “The Big Sick.”
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Starring Kumail Nanjiani and co-written by him with his wife Emily Gordon, the Sundance smash hit replaces raunch with romance and sprinkles in dramatic moments, as Gordon and Nanjiani tell the story of their turbulent meeting and the crisis they faced when Gordon was struck with a mysterious disease and entered a medically-induced coma. The film has grossed $2.2 million in limited release and will arrive in theaters everywhere July 14.