Weekend Report: ‘Neighbors’ Hazes ‘Spider-Man’

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Seth Rogen and Zac Efron hosted a party at the movies this weekend, and audiences showed up in droves for it.

Playing at 3,279 locations, Neighbors opened to an incredible $51.1 million. That’s one of the biggest debuts ever for an original R-rated comedy.

Meanwhile, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell hard in its second outing. Still, the superhero sequel is making up for its domestic shortcomings with strong overseas earnings.

Among original R-rated comedies, Neighbors trailed Ted($54.4 million) and Sex and the City ($57 million, and debatably “original”). At the same time, it was ahead of major R-rated hits like The HangoverThe Heat and 21 Jump Street. It’s also the biggest debut ever for a live-action Seth Rogen movie ahead of The Green Hornet($33.5 million).

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Scene from Neighbors

From its first preview, Neighbors looked like a hit. The comedy had a relatable, clearly-articulated premise (“Family vs. Frat”) that was hammered home in all of the marketing material. That included plenty of strong visual jokes—the airbag was particularly memorable—that flowed naturally from that set-up. Universal’s aggressive, confident marketing campaign began last year, and culminated with a publicity blitz and tons of word-of-mouth screenings. Even with all of this, though, a debut north of $50 million is nothing short of remarkable.

Neighbors
 is Universal’s fourth original movie to open in first place at the domestic box office this year: the other three are Lone SurvivorRide Along and Non-Stop. Each movie has served as a reminder that audiences crave fresh stories that feature characters they can relate to.

The audience for Neighbors was 53 percent female and 47 percent under the age of 25. That suggests Efron had as much to do with this debut as Rogen. Of course, let’s not forget about Rose Byrne, who showed off comedy chops in Universal’s 2011 hit Bridemaids, and surely helped get some women to the movie as well.

Neighbors
 received a “B” CinemaScore, which isn’t great for an R-rated comedy. Add in the younger-than-average audience, and this may not hold up as well as movies like The Heat or Ted. Still, it’s a safe bet that it winds up with at least $140 million.

In second place, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell 59 percent to an estimated $37.2 million. That drop isn’t significantly worse than that of recent Marvel movies Iron Man 3Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (56 to 58 percent).

Still, Spider-Man faces brutal competition from Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past in the next two weeks, and should therefore continue its steep descent. To date, it’s earned $147.9 million, and is on pace to finish between $210 and $220 million.

Neighbors
 didn’t seem to have much of an effect on The Other Woman, which eased 36 percent to $9.25 million. So far, the Cameron Diaz comedy has grossed $61.7 million.

In fourth place, Heaven is for Real was off a light 19 percent to $7 million. Through four weekends, the faith-based hit has brought in an impressive $75.2 million.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
 rounded out the Top Five with an estimated $5.6 million (down just 28 percent). With $245 million, it’s now the highest-grossing April release ever ahead of My Big Fat Greek Wedding($241.4 million).

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Comments (1)

  • Steven Myer says:May 12, 2014 01:35 pm

    This Movie looks funny. I like all of Seth Rogens movies. Pineapple Express was the best though. I hope this one is better.

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