Weekend Box Office (March 27 - 29, 2015)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The DreamWorks Animation offering Home opened to fantastic results shattering expectations to claim the number one spot with $52.1M according to final studio figures. The PG-rated toon featuring the voices of Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, and Jennifer Lopez averaged a stellar $14,053 from 3,708 locations for Fox which handled the release.

It was the biggest non-sequel opening for the struggling animation studio since the $59.3M launch of 2009's Monsters vs. Aliens which happened to open on the exact same day. Home soared above the $30-40M range which the industry was expecting and the debut came very close to the $55.4M of last month's The SpongeBob Movie as well as Disney's Oscar winner Big Hero 6 which bowed to $56.2M last November. Those are much higher profile titles so to get so close was quite a feat. Home even beat recent toon sequels like How To Train Your Dragon 2, Rio 2, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 and the last two Ice Age pics.

Reviews for Home were mixed with many critics calling it ordinary and familiar. But kids and parents came out in droves and loved the pic giving it a solid A grade from CinemaScore. Starpower from the voice cast certainly helped as did the story of a girl trying to reunite with her mom. Plus with Easter next weekend and many school closings coming up, the road ahead looks bright. No major animated rival will get in its way until mid-June when Pixar returns with Inside Out so Home has smooth sailing. Studio data showed the audience to be 60% female, 57% under 25, and 52% non-white.

Home's success is crucial for the toon studio which saw dull results for its last film Penguins of Madagascar which grossed only $83.2M, the second worst tally across its last 17 films prompting major corporate cutbacks. Often dropping three films a year, DWA has no more movies on its 2015 release calendar so it will be looking for as much cash as possible from Home. Next up for the company will be Kung Fu Panda 3 in March of next year. Overseas, Home grossed an estimated $24M this weekend pushing the foreign cume to $48.2M for a $100M global gross very early in the run.

Comedy titans Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart promoted their new vehicle aggressively and powered Get Hard to a strong second place debut with $33.8M. Averaging an impressive $10,647 from 3,175 locations, the R-rated train-me-for-prison comedy tapped into the fan base of each superstar leading to a large overall turnout. It was the third best live-action opening ever for Ferrell trailing just Talladega Nights ($47M) and The Other Guys ($35.5M) which were both PG-13 films released in the summer. For Hart it was his second biggest opening in a lead role after the $41.5M of last year's career-making PG-13 smash Ride Along.

Reviews for Get Hard were lackluster and moviegoers were only moderately pleased as evidenced by the B CinemaScore grade. And with Furious 7 racing into multiplexes this Thursday evening at 7pm, rapid erosion may follow. But Get Hard did deliver good news for the genre of R-rated comedies which have mostly stumbled over the past year.

The sci-fi sequel The Divergent Series: Insurgent fell from first to third with $21.5M, off 59% in its second weekend, dropping harder than its predecessor. Last year's Divergent on the same weekend fell 53%. Lionsgate has now collected $85.9M for Insurgent compared to $94.4M for Divergent at the same point in its run a year ago putting the new chapter 9% behind. Shailene Woodley's three hits over the past year have now grossed a combined $362M from North America alone. Worldwide, Insurgent stands at $180M.

Another major March player followed. Disney's Cinderella dropped 51% in its third frame to $17M as many families shifted over to Home. The glass slipper gal lifted her domestic cume to $149.6M and watched her global gross soar to $336M led by China's incredible $65.1M which is more than the next nine biggest markets combined.

Following two weeks of stellar numbers in limited release, the low-budget horror pic It Follows expanded nationwide from 32 to 1,218 locations and wound up in fifth place with $3.8M for a mild $3,129 average. Distributor Radius had planned a VOD release this weekend to capture national business from a home platform, but limited release success and positive buzz prompted a change in strategy to roll the dice for a wide theatrical gamble. The R-rated pic falls in between mainstream spookfest and arthouse chiller.

Though not spectacular, Follow's performance this weekend is commendable given its late-in-the-game change and limited marketing dollars. Most of the campaign has been through digital ads and social media. Critics praised the sexually-transmitted-terror film for its originality, something rare in this genre. Audience feedback has not been as ecstatic, but has still been fairly positive. Cume is $4.5M and an expansion into more theaters is planned for Good Friday.

The rest of the films in the top ten wound up with slim slices of the box office pie. The Fox hit Kingsman: The Secret Service grossed $3M, off 36%, for a $119.3M total. Faith-based drama Do You Believe? fell 36% to $2.3M giving the Pure Flix release $7.2M to date.

Liam Neeson's Run All Night grabbed $2.2M, down 57%, putting Warner Bros. at only $23.8M. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel slipped 40% to $2.1M for a $28.1M sum for Fox Searchlight. Open Road saw the Sean Penn flop The Gunman tumble 60% in its second round to $2M. Cume is a measly $8.8M.

The top ten films grossed $139.9M which was up 12% from last year when Noah opened at number one with $43.7M; and up 2% from 2013 when G.I. Joe: Retaliation debuted in the top spot with $40.5M.

Compared to projections, Home zoomed past my $29M forecast while Get Hard opened very close to my $32M prediction.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

Watch the NEW trailer for SPECTRE.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Furious 7 opens, likely to record numbers.

# Title Mar 27 - 29 Mar 20 - 22 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Home $ 52,107,731 3,708 1 $ 14,053 $ 52,107,731 Fox
2 Get Hard 33,803,253 3,175 1 10,647 33,803,253 Warner Bros.
3 The Divergent Series: Insurgent 21,535,277 52,263,680 -58.8 3,875 2 5,557 85,854,100 Lionsgate
4 Cinderella 17,043,491 34,967,659 -51.3 3,815 3 4,467 149,551,020 Disney
5 It Follows 3,811,052 344,874 1,218 3 3,129 4,545,515 Radius
6 Kingsman: The Secret Service 2,965,310 4,627,340 -35.9 1,785 7 1,661 119,339,069 Fox
7 Do You Believe? 2,307,477 3,591,282 -35.7 1,356 2 1,702 7,209,036 Pure Flix
8 Run All Night 2,178,380 5,032,323 -56.7 2,377 3 916 23,795,898 Warner Bros.
9 Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2,117,414 3,510,008 -39.7 1,498 4 1,413 28,067,217 Fox Searchlight
10 The Gunman 2,035,989 5,028,702 -59.5 2,816 2 723 8,800,854 Open Road
11 Focus 1,292,230 3,244,355 -60.2 1,260 5 1,026 51,851,639 Warner Bros.
12 McFarland, USA 1,122,021 2,197,381 -48.9 1,126 6 996 40,563,717 Disney
13 American Sniper 874,053 1,608,251 -45.7 970 14 901 345,414,287 Warner Bros.
14 Chappie 796,204 2,663,291 -70.1 1,002 4 795 30,168,687 Sony
15 The SpongeBob Movie 613,635 2,394,978 -74.4 1,354 8 453 160,211,752 Paramount
16 Fifty Shades of Grey 556,510 1,311,520 -57.6 554 7 1,005 164,964,670 Universal
17 The Lazarus Effect 475,134 1,375,470 -65.5 672 5 707 24,936,050 Relativity
18 The DUFF 409,623 1,236,564 -66.9 651 7 629 33,233,084 Lionsgate
19 Still Alice 371,000 477,000 -22.2 401 11 925 17,871,000 Sony Classics
20 Wild Tales 297,000 267,000 11.2 116 6 2,560 1,596,000 Sony Classics
Top 5 $ 128,300,804 $ 101,919,704 25.9
Top 10 139,905,374 117,323,618 19.2
Top 20 146,712,784 126,993,052 15.5
Top 20 vs. 2014 146,712,784 137,056,787 7.0

Last Updated: March 29, 2015 at 1:30PM ET

©1997 - 2015 Box Office Guru