After a decisive victory on Friday, Dumb and Dumber To held on to the top spot this weekend and beat most expectations in the process. An expected challenge from Disney holdover Big Hero 6 fell a bit short, which left the comedy sequel the undisputed box office champ. DDT opened with an estimated $38 million this weekend – easily surpassing the high end of its projections. The sequel now ranks as the highest domestic debut ever for the Farrelly Brothers, topping 2000’s Me, Myself and Irene even after adjusting for inflation. Both Big Hero 6 and Interstellar had strong sophomore holds, though neither was able to overtake Harry and Lloyd in the end.
|1.||Dumb and Dumber To||$38,053,000||$38|
|2.||Big Hero 6||$36,010,000||$111.6|
|4.||Beyond the Lights||$6,500,000||$6.5|
Full story after the jump.
Way, way back in December 1994 the unknown filmmaking duo of Peter and Bobby Farrelly scored their first box office victory with Dumb and Dumber. The comedy opened in first place with $16.3 million (over $26 million adjusted for inflation) one week before Christmas and went on to top the box office for another three straight weeks. The film grossed almost $250 million worldwide (unadjusted) and ranks second only to 1998’s There’s Something About Mary on The Farrelly Brother’s all-time hit list.
Dumb and Dumber also capped a breakthrough year for star Jim Carrey, following the release of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (in February) and The Mask (in July). But the adventures of Harry and Lloyd topped both films with its final domestic gross of $127.1 million. Carrey immediately became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, and while Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls came along in November 1995, the long-promised Dumb and Dumber sequel never made it to the screen – at least while Carrey’s career was on the upswing.
In recent years, both Carrey and The Farrelly Brothers have struggled commercially. The actor had a minor hit as the star of Mr. Popper’s Penguins in the summer of 2011, but then failed badly in 2013 with supporting roles in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Kick-Ass 2. The Farrelly’s have had it even harder: turning out major box office misfires like Hall Pass and The Three Stooges in recent years. Returning to Dumb and Dumber – even after a two decade interval – just made sense for everyone.
In most cases, the success of an original film guarantee a nice box office bump for its immediate sequel. Then again, in most cases there isn’t twenty years separating installments. Looking at the list of films that took an unusually long time to make it to “part two” is not encouraging, including 2010’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and the recent Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. On the flip side, The Best Man Holiday was a solid success story when it debuted on this weekend last year: 14 years after The Best Man left theatres.
It’s hard to tell where Dumb and Dumber To will fall on the sequel spectrum. Reviews for the comedy have been fairly awful (27% on Rotten Tomatoes) and even the notoriously accepting CinemaScore poll of audience reaction isn’t much better at B-. Then there’s the Mockingjay effect. In case you missed it, the penultimate chapter in The Hunger Games franchise hits theatres next weekend, making a big drop for Dumb and Dumber To seem inevitable. The sequel should make up for any domestic shortcomings overseas, but by that time will anyone be paying attention?
People are still paying a lot of attention to Gone Girl. The David Fincher drama is enjoying its seventh straight weekend in the domestic top five. That’s not completely unheard of (Guardians of the Galaxy hit the same mark just a few months back and Frozen dropped out of the top five after 11 weeks earlier this year) but it is unusual for an R-rated feature. The last adults-only title to spend seven weeks in the domestic top five was The Passion of the Christ more than a decade ago. With a global total of $311.2 million, Gone Girl is still behind Seven and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Fincher’s all-time list of worldwide grosses – but it is catching up.
After losing out to Big Hero 6 last weekend, Interstellar rebounded by taking first place every day except Tuesday last week. The Christopher Nolan sci-fi epic was behind Disney once again this weekend, however: falling 38% to take third place behind the animated film (down 36%). On its own second frame last fall, Gravity declined by just 22%, though once again 3D prices were in play in that case. Interstellar will pass $100 million in North America on Monday and has already taken in over $233 million worldwide. That figure doesn’t include this weekend’s estimates for China, however, and the film has yet to open in Japan.
Outside of the specialty market, Beyond the Lights was the weekend’s only other new release. With an estimated $6.5 million from 1,789 locations, the drama was a disappointment for Relativity, which had been hoping for as much as $10 million. Rosewater, directed by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, opened with an estimated $1.2 million from 371 locations. That was in line with expectations, though the drama’s per screen average was dwarfed by the $48,000 that Foxcatcher (starring The Daily Show alum Steve Carrell) collected from six locations this weekend.
At least Rosewater beat out Saving Christmas, the latest feature from Kirk Cameron. The Christian message-movie earned an estimated $1 million from 410 locations. Finally, after almost a month in limited release, Birdman broke into the top ten after expanding to 857 locations this weekend. The drama starring Michael Keaton has earned over $11.5 million over 31 days in domestic theatres.
Thanks to the combined strength of the top three films, this weekend’s box office topped 2013’s total by almost 15%. The forecast for next weekend also looks promising, even if The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 fails to open at the same level that Catching Fire did on the same weekend last year. Current projections for the Mockingjay 1 debut are under $155 million. Last year, Catching Fire set a new November record with its $158 million opening. Anything over $143 million would give Mockingjay 1 the month’s all-time second-place title, but what do you think? Can the third installment match Catching Fire?