It's Mother's Day weekend. Do you know what your neighbors are doing?
If they're fans of R-rated humor, chances are they're on their way to see Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy Neighbors. Thanks to a highly relatable, laugh-out-loud marketing effort and strong early reactions, the Universal release could earn over $40 million this weekend.
That would likely be enough to upset The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which is poised for a steep drop from its $91.6 million debut. The superhero sequel has received middling reviews (55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and mixed word-of-mouth ("B+" CinemaScore): on both of those metrics, it trails recent comic book movies like Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3. All three of those fell by at least 57 percent in their second weekends, which is a probable outcome for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as well. A weekend gross between $35 and $40 million is a safe bet.
This weekend, Neighbors reaches 3,279 theaters on the heels of an aggressive, highly-effective marketing campaign. Advertisements play up the "Family vs. Frat" storyline, which presents a clear conflict that seems rife with comedic potential. There are a ton of strong jokes scattered throughout, all of which seem to flow naturally from that set-up. The movie also benefits from a likeable cast that should be equally appealing to men (Rogen) and women (Efron, Rose Bryne).
Recognizing that they have a winner on their hands, Universal has screened Neighbors early and often. Similar to their 2011 hit Bridesmaids, the studio premiered the movie at South by Southwest in March before showing it off at hundreds of word-of-mouth screenings. The movie is also getting a solid critical reception: as of Thursday afternoon, it had a 79 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Six original R-rated comedies have opened over $35 million: 21 Jump Street, The Heat, Scary Movie, The Hangover, Ted and Sex and the City. Universal isn't expecting Neighbors to go that high, and are instead predicting a more modest mid-to-high $20 millions.
However, online ticket seller Fandango reports that the movie is selling twice as many advanced tickets as This is the End ($20.7 million), and the most for an R-rated comedy since Ted in 2012. That puts it above The Hangover Part III ($41.7 million) and The Heat ($39.1 million). With great marketing and strong advanced ticket sales, Neighbors could absolutely open above $40 million this weekend.
LA Times - 'Neighbors' to crash 'Spider-Man' sequel's box-office party
Universal Pictures' $18-million "Neighbors" is expected to gross $35 million or more in ticket sales through Sunday in the United States and Canada, according to people who have seen prerelease audience surveys, though the studio says it's projecting a softer debut of $25 million-plus.
Deadline - Box Office Preview: ‘Neighbors’, ‘Spider-Man 2′ Vie For Top Box Office Spot; Will Frat-Pack Kegger Crash Spidey’s Party?
It’s just too close to call on who will win the Mother’s Day box office weekend — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in its sophomore frame or the R-rated frat prank comedy Neighbors starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, which is expected to have a stellar performance this weekend as word is that it truly delivers. The question comes down to how significant a drop Spidey will have this weekend. Taking away Thursday’s $8.7M gross and concentrating on the three-day weekend, the number to work with is ASM2‘s $82.9M three-day gross.
Sony’s franchise has been playing behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which dropped 51% in its second weekend. Given that, ASM2 is expected to drop anywhere from 50%-55% this weekend or more, which would leave the three-day gross at $41.4M on the high end to $37M-$35M or even less on the other end. The franchise’s midweek numbers have been unimpressive and Neighbors could very well end up as this generation’s Animal House. Let’s face it, there is no studio better with producing and marketing comedies right now than Universal Pictures (oh, I’m gonna hear the flack on this one), but they are really good at it and it should be noted. Spidey is playing on 4,324 screens and Neighbors on 3,279 screens.
Fandango reported yesterday that Neighbors is currently the site’s biggest R-rated comedy pre-seller since summer 2012′s surprise hit Ted, which opened in 3,303 theaters to $54.4M a $16,800 per-screen average. Efron’s last picture That Awkward Moment didn’t perform at all, but again, this particular comedy delivers. Thanks to Rogen, the writers Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, and director Nick Stoller, who is on his fourth time out with Universal (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him To The Greek and The Five-Year Engagement).
One thing to note is that Sunday is Mother’s Day, so that fares better for other pics as no son or daughter is likely to take their moms out for an R-rated frat pic. Nothing says how much you love your Mom than by reminding your her where her hard-earned cash goes while you are off in college hitting the beer … I mean, books. The other comedy in the marketplace, The Other Woman, is already in its third weekend out so has had time to play out.
THR - Box Office: 'Neighbors,' 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' to Battle Over Mother's Day Crown:
A potential Mother's Day showdown is shaping up between Universal's new R-rated comedy Neighbors and holdover The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Each film has the potential of grossing around $42 million for the weekend, although Universal is being far more conservative in its projection for Neighbors, the first R-rated comedy of the summer season…
The film, boasting good reviews, revolves around a young couple with a baby who live next door to a frat house. The film is tracking particularly well among young males, followed by young females.
The comedy -- titled Bad Neighbors internationally -- opens day-and-date in 29 territories, after enjoying strong previews last weekend in Australia and the U.K., where it placed No. 1.
Sony's Amazing Spider-Man 2 debuted to $96.1 million [Note: uhhh, actually $91.6, typo?] in North America last weekend, and has grossed $107.1 million through Wednesday. Globally, it's earned well north of $400 million. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 should benefit from Mother's Day more than Neighbors, according to box office observers.
From Variety, Variety - Box Office: ‘Neighbors’ to Crash Spider-Man’s Party With Possible $35 Million-Plus Debut
Building steady buzz over the past several weeks, Universal’s raunchy comedy “Neighbors” prepares to move in near the top of the domestic box office, rivaling “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” with a potential mid-to-high $30 million three-day bow, according to industry observers.
The $18 million R-rated laffer, starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, came on strong with tracking last month; pic’s advanced ticket sales on Fandango also nearly double last year’s “This Is the End,” which opened to $20 million. Audience awareness for “Neighbors” could help it overperform just like “Ted,” which wound up crushing its mid-to-high $30 million expectations with an eventual $54 million domestic opening last year [Note: actually 2012, NOT 2013, lazy reporting].
Meanwhile, Sony’s “Spider-Man” tentpole kicked off summer B.O. with close to $92 million, which should segue into a low-$40 million gross this weekend if the film drops between 50%-55% through Sunday. Last year, “Iron Man 3″ fell 58% in its second weekend, while “Thor” dropped 47%. The Spidey sequel soared opening weekend, but the pic’s gross likely was deflated somewhat by the prominance of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in the market. Playability for “Spider-Man” has been strong during mid-weeks, however.
While “Spider-Man” should keep its stronghold with teens and some families, “Neighbors” is tracking best among women who could boost the pic’s prospects by organizing a “girls’-night-out.” Efron, who is shirtless throughout much of the movie, created a recent Internet sensation when he took off his shirt on-stage at the MTV Movie Awards.
I don't have a lot to speculate on regarding Neighbors box office because I think the commentary above is pretty accurate (factual typos/mistakes aside). Unlike other Zac films, no one is so far off the mark that it needs a rebuttal from me. I think mid to high $30s is a good estimate. My only questions are why is the studio prediction so much lower than tracking and did they do too many free screenings? On the former maybe they just want to deflate some of the ballyhoo predicting a $40-plus opening or bringing in the Ted comparison. On the latter, I have no real factual data, it was just a lingering thought as I saw the many free screening tweets scroll by. I do think the great thing about the film is even if people saw at a free screening, a number of those people I think would be willing to go see it again if their friends are going because it is just plain fun.
There is a huge potential for it to break out. It is very funny, enjoyable, and well-reviewed. The timing couldn't be better (on several levels) and interest seems high outside of fandoms (reducing the risk of front loading). Zac and Seth (and everyone really) have been doing a heck of a job promoting it. It seems to be doing well at Thursday's screenings with reported sell outs and it even trended on twitter tonight for awhile, so fingers crossed. It would be well-deserved if it breaks out big time, making it over $40 million and, even better, making it to number one.