Animated offering Home is where the hearth is at the North American box office.
In a needed victory for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation, the music-infused family film topped Friday’s (March 27) chart with $15.6 million from 3,708 theaters for a projected $55.5 million weekend — the best showing for an original DWA title in recent years and vastly exceeding expectations.
Get Hard, the new R-rated comedy starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, is no slouch either. The Warner Bros. movie came in a strong No. 2 Friday with $12.9 million from 3,175 locations for an expected $36 million weekend. The weekend’s other new nationwide player, It Follows, is tipped to earn $4 million despite playing in only 1,218 locations, putting it at No. 5.
Home earned an A CinemaScore; Get Hard, a B. Generally speaking, the box office is seeing a boost overall from many kids and college students being on spring break.
Home‘s voice cast includes Rihanna in her first turn in an animated film, Jim Parsons, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin (expect lots of singing from Rihanna and Lopez). Home follows the adventures of a teenage girl on the run and a misfit alien.
The movie, costing $130 million to make, got off to an outstanding start last weekend internationally, grossing $20.1 million from only 10 markets, including a $9.1 million debut in the U.K.
Outside of How to Train Your Dragon 2, DWA suffered a dismal 2014. The animation studio announced in February that it took a $57.1 million writedown onPenguins of Madagascar and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which opened to $32.2 million in spring 2014 (Peabody had solid legs in the U.S., but didn’t travel well overseas). DWA has said it intends to raise money by selling its Glendale campus for $185 million, then leasing back the space.
Get Hard, costing $40 million to make, marks the feature directorial debut of Etan Cohen, and stars Ferrell as a wealthy businessman who thinks he’s going to jail for tax evasion, so he hires a car washer to teach him how to survive being in prison for 10 years. Alison Brie, Edwina Findley and Craig T. Nelson also star.
Heading into the weekend, both films were tipped to gross in the mid-$30 million range.
Elsewhere, Lionsgate’s Insurgent will come in No. 3 in its second weekend with an estimated $23 million, a decline of 56 percent. By Sunday, the movie’s domestic total will be north of $87 million.
Disney’s live-action fairy tale Cinderella is holding at No. 4 in its third weekend and will pass the $150 million mark sometime on Sunday.
It Follows is expected to round out the top five in a strong showing for the Radius-TWC title as it expands nationwide.
At the specialty box office, Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried, is tipped to score the top location average of any film this weekend. The movie, from A24 Films, is expected to gross $228,000 from four locations for a theater average of $57,000.
The forecast is grim, however, for Susanne Bier’s Serena, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. The long-delayed film is opening in 60 theaters after premiering first on VOD, and may only take in $107,000 for a location average of $1,783. The good news is that Serena has earned nearly $1 million on VOD.