We’ve all been joking “So, you’re telling me there’s a chance!” about the prospect of a Dumb and Dumber sequel for so long that it possibly never occurred to us exactly how well such a sequel would do at the box office. After all, it’s been 20 years since the original Dumb and Dumber. Sequels that take that long to arrive don’t normally turn into hits, yet that’s exactly what Dumb and Dumber To did. While that’s a nice (or infuriating, depending on your love/hate relationship with the franchise) story, the bigger fish are clearly Big Hero 6, which continues doing as well as you’d expect from a Disney Animations Studio release, and Interstellar, which is not Inception-strong at home but kind of amazing everywhere else.
Let’s do the numbers:
Top 10 Actual Domestic Totals (11/14-11/16)
- Weekend Gross=$36.1 million
- Budget=Less than $40 million
Foreign: It only opened in Germany, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland, grossing a combined $3.2m and finishing in the top 3 in all four markets. Its worldwide debut is $39.3m.
For a movie as well-watched via home video and cable as Dumb and Dumber, it is sometimes easy to forget how much money it made before it ever actually got to home video. This is not some Anchorman/Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me type of film which did just okay before truly finding its audience on home video. Dumb and Dumber was the sixth highest grossing release of 1994, a year that included such box office behemoths as Forrest Gump and The Lion King, both of which would have combined to make $1.2 billion from the domestic box office alone at current ticket prices. Dumb and Dumber‘s inflation-adjusted domestic gross ($241m) is actually identical to what Maleficent did this summer and superior to X-Men: Days of Future Past ($233m).
That all being said, it’s still amazing to see Dumb and Dumber To – a sequel 20 years in the making – open this big. It actually outperformed the original Dumb and Dumber‘s actual ($16.3m) and inflation-adjusted ($31.7m) opening weekend from ’94. Sequels outgross their predecessors all the time now, but sequels that take this long to arrive normally don’t stand a chance. In fact, I previously wrote an entire list breaking down the box office performances of movies with ridiculously long gaps in between sequels, and the only one around the 20 year gap territory that did pretty much just as good if not better than its predecessor was Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Of course, I was looking at inflation-adjusted cumulative totals, not opening weekends, and while this is a great start for Dumb and Dumber To there’s absolutely no way it keeps pace with the first Dumb and Dumber, which declined a mere 7% in its second weekend and held the top spot of the box office top 10 for a whole month. Either way, the path to Dumb and Dumber To was littered with plenty of false-starts and several lawsuits from some of the original film’s producers, meaning that this opening weekend must feel all the sweeter and well-earned for all involved parties. They have mostly young (43% of the opening weekend audience was under the age of 25) males (55% of the opening weekend audience) to thank. Plus, it seems likely that some audiences simply needed a 180 palette cleanser from the more heady fare of something like Interstellar.
- Weekend Gross=$34.6 million (-38% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$110.3 million
- Budget=$165 million
Foreign: $11.9m from 23 overseas territories this weekend, upping its international total to $36.7m and worldwide to $147m. It is setting Pixar/Disney Animation Studios records in territories like Malaysia and Singapore (biggest opening), the Philippines and Russia (second highest grossing of all time, behind Frozen), and Vietnam (highest grossing of all time). It opens in Japan Dec. 20 where it is expected to do huge business.
Right now, we’re only getting half of the story on Big Hero 6‘s box office. By posting a somewhat standard sub-40% hold for the second weekend of a major animated film, it has pushed its domestic total to just over $110m after 10 days, and is on pace to become the second best performer in Disney Animation Studios history, surpassing Tangled ($200m) while falling understandably short of Frozen ($400m). We’ll have to revisit that once Penguins of Madagascar arrives and brings with it direct competition, but for not Big Hero 6 is pretty much doing what you’d roughly expect from a Disney Animations/Pixar-level animated film. However, the two things that international audiences seem to eat up are computer animation and 3D action spectacles, preferably of the comic book variety. Well, Big Hero 6 has both of those things, yet it is still easing its way foreign markets, playing big in places like Russia. You get the sense that by the time we’ll have moved on from this movie places like Japan and China will finally get it and send its worldwide totals sky high.
- Weekend Gross=$28.3 million (-40% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$96.9 million
- Budget=$165 million
Foreign: $106m from 63 countries this weekend, including a five-day debut of $42m, in China. It accounted for 55% of China’s entire box office and 80% of South Korea’s, where it has accumulated $35.9m after 2 weeks. Overall, Interstellar is looking at an international/worldwide split of $224.1m/$321.1m.
In a recent Hollywood Reporter Roundtable discussion, Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey casually acknowledged, “We live in a world where the fact is that we do over 70 percent of our business now around the world, and it’s probably going to increase with China.” In the context of that specific conversation, Grey was referring to the fact that Paramount is the studio responsible for Transformers, a franchise whose latest installment underwhelmed domestically but set records in China on the way to a worldwide gross over $1 billion. However, Grey’s also speaking as the guy who is currently only getting around 30% of that Interstellar pie because in the deal to co-finance the film he surrendered international distribution to Warner Bros. in exchange for the right to co-finance Friday the 13th and South Park sequels with WB down the road. After 10 days, it turns out Interstellar is performing exactly according to Grey’s breakdown of the global box office – 70% international, 30% domestic. In fact, WB says it is currently playing even bigger than Gravity did in all major foreign markets last year.
That’s my way of saying that the bigger story with Interstellar‘s performance right now is how well it is doing worldwide. The harder part is deciding whether or not Interstellar‘s domestic performance should be considered a disappointment. It’s the first Christopher Nolan movie not to debut at #1 since 2001, and it had Nolan’s lowest opening weekend since 2006. Now, its second weekend drop is 8 percentage points higher than Nolan’s last original film, Inception, and their 10-days aren’t particularly close ($96.1m for Interstellar vs. $142.8m for Inception). But what that is really saying is that Interstellar is simply not doing as well as a movie, Inception, that made nearly $300m domestic, $825m worldwide. We are sort of numb to box office totals at this point, but it’s worth remembering that nearly $300m domestic is an astounding feat for an original property that mostly refused to talk down to its audience. Of course, in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio Inception was fronted by bankable movie star with a superior track record than Interstellar’s Matthew McConaughey. Inception was also 20 minutes shorter, featured more action, and didn’t harbor any ambitions of attempting to juxtapose space travel with the harshness of the human experience. Interstellar is simply a tougher sell, and one of the only reasons you could be disappointed that a film of this type declined a mere 40% in its second weekend, unheard of for most movies these days, is because Christopher Nolan has set the bar so darn high for himself.
- Weekend Gross=$6.2 million
- Budget=$7 million
Foreign: No foreign box office
Beyond the Lights, which opened in a little under 2,000 theaters, is about an R&B singer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who falls for a cop (Nate Parker) after he saves her from a suicide attempt. Its director, Gina Prince-Brythewood, previously made Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees, and Beyond the Lights came in under both of those films’ openings ($8.1m and $10.5m respectively). Those who saw the film liked it, though, giving it an A on CinemaScore, and the opening weekend audience was not as African-American dominated (just 49%) as you might expect.
- Weekend Gross=$4.5 million (-27% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$152.6 million
- Budget=$61 million
Foreign: No figures on its weekend performance, but the updated overall foreign/worldwide split is $166.2m/$318.8.3m
To this point, Gone Girl has yet to decline more than 37% weekend-to-weekend, and that’s after 7 weeks in theaters. That’s a word of mouth on par with what Gravity did in its first 7 weeks last October into November.
- Weekend Gross=$3.7 million (-30% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$27 million
- Budget=They’re Not Telling
Foreign: Its minimal foreign box office has yet to eclipse $600,000.
Take About a Boy, mix in a little bit of Bad Words, change the surrogate father-son dynamic of those stories to surrogate grandfather-grandson, and you’ve got St. Vincent. It has taken the open-small-and-gradually-expand-wide approach, reaching the point now where it has been right around the middle of the top 10 for several weeks. It’s still not really the box office equal of the film it rips off, About a Boy, which made $41m in 2002.
- Weekend Gross=$3.7 million (-33% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$75.85 million
- Budget=$68 million
Foreign: Fury netted $3.1m from over 40 international markets this weekend, bringing its overseas total up to $59.3m and worldwide to $135.2m
The most recent WWII movie, Monuments Men ended up with $78m domestic/$155m worldwide, achievable if not outright beatable totals for Fury. However, is all of this actually good enough for a film which cost around $70m to make, especially when you remember that the studio has to roughly split ticket sales 50/50 with the domestic theaters and closer to 60/40 if not worse with foreign theaters?
- Weekend Gross=$2.96 million (-50% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$48 million
- Budget=$5m (give or take)
Foreign: $3.3m from 22 markets for an updated international/worldwide split of $17.5m/$65.5m.
Profitability level = Ouija has now grossed 13 times its budget at the worldwide box office. That’s why Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Sinister, etc.) keeps cranking out these micro-budget horror films: All you really need is one or two of them to hit big every year, and that’ll more than cover any losses from the other films.
- Weekend Gross=$2.91 million (-45% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$24.8 million
- Budget=They’d rather not say
Foreign: No figures on its weekend performance, but its updated overall foreign/worldwide split is $1.7m/$26.6m
Nightcrawler profiles to End of Watch (another critically adored Jake Gyllenhaal movie) and Drive (Ryan Goslin’s seemingly instant cult classic), which ultimately ended up with $41m and $35m domestic respectively. Nightcrawler isn’t going to match that, but those films had the luxury of coming out in non-competitive Septembers. Nightcrawler is not just fighting the likes of Interstellar and amazing holdover biz for Gone Girl but limited releases for awards contenders like Birdman and Foxcatcher. Plus, Nightcrawler is a tough sell with a lead character you won’t necessarily like.
- Weekend Gross=$2.4 million (+7% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$11.5 million
- Budget=$18 million
Foreign: No foreign box office yet
They added 397 more theaters, making this Birdman‘s first weekend of wide release, and it responded by making slightly more than it did last weekend. This is such a buzzy but deeply odd film that it’s hard to see it steadily climbing the top 10 the way the more crowd-pleasing St. Vincent has, but for now Birdman is headed in the right direction.
What Dropped Out of the Top 10?:
John Wick (#8 to #11), Alexander… (#9 to #12), and The Book of Life (#10 to #16). John Wick is now up to $38.9m domestic, $53.5m worldwide against a $20m production budget with several more international releases on the horizon. These are obviously nowhere near Liam Neeson-like numbers, but you’d think that Keanu Reeves bid at his own Taken franchise could yield a second installment if it catches on in its remaining international territories and on home video down the road.
What’s Up Next?:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. ‘Nuff said.