This mid-November weekend was crammed with new releases on both the wide and indie circuits, and there was stiff competition from last weekend’s releases, but the weekend was won by a sequel to a 20-year-old comedy. Although it was on track to make $25 million this weekend, the Jim Carrey/Jeff Daniels comedy Dumb and Dumber To managed $38.1 million against a $40 million budget and snagged the number one slot. It’s impressive in that it made more than was expected, but also that the audience was 47 percent under 25, suggesting that the original film has some lasting power and that it defied the possible outcome of people who were teenagers when the first movie came out not really caring what Harry and Lloyd were up to 20 years later. It’s also Jim Carrey’s highest opening since Bruce Almighty back in 2003 and his fifth biggest opening overall. Although the movie might not have great legs, it should end up with a final gross in the $100 million range, a solid number for all involved.
The other major opening was Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights, which opened in fourth place with $6.5 million on about 1800 screens, a solid but not amazing number for a movie whose trailers didn’t do it many favors but whose reviews were pretty great (Bythewood’s Love and Basketball didn’t burn up the box office either, but it’s had a long life as a cult classic on video, so this one could go the same route). Opening in the 200-400 screen range was Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, which earned a mediocre $1.2 million ($3,235 per-theater average), although it is the kind of movie that opens in that range even with a famous director. Kirk Cameron’s latest screed against non-Christians, Saving Christmas, also opened on a similar number of screens to a similar $1.01 million and a worse $2,468 average, suggesting even Christians are sick of him. The big indie debut was the long-delayed but well-reviewed Steve Carell/Channing Tatum movie Foxcatcher, which earned $48,000 per screen on 6 screens and should do decent numbers as it goes wide.
On the older movie side, Big Hero 6 and Interstellar moved down to second and third place, but each had a drop of less than 40 percent, earning $36 million and $29.1 million for $111 million and $97.6 million totals, respectively. Both movies are also in the $150-200 million range when international grosses are factored in, so both should be well on their way to making decent profits. And Birdman continues to chug along, adding nearly 400 more screens and $2.4 million to its $11 million total.
Next weekend brings The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, so it would be an ideal weekend to see almost any other movie that’s in release if you want to avoid the crowds.