Box Office: 'Neighbors,' 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' to Battle Over Mother's Day Crown

4:46 PM PST 05/08/2014 by Pamela McClintock

UPDATED: Female Christian comedy "Moms' Night Out" and family offering "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" are expected to do more modest business; the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's "God's Pocket" and Jon Favreau's "Chef" opens at the specialty box office.

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 starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne. The project reteams Universal with director Nick Stoller, the filmmaker behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek and The Five-Year Engagement.

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Neighbors also marks the latest between Rogen and his producing partners Evan Goldberg and James Weaver. They produced the comedy alongside Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake's Good Universe banner. 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 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.

Also poised to enjoy a boost from the holiday is female Christian comedy Moms' Night Out. All of Hollywood is curious to see whether the film sees the same boost that recent faith-based titles Heaven Is For Real, God's Not Dead and Son of God have enjoyed. Sony's TriStar label, also home of Heaven Is For Real, is releasing Moms' Night Out, starring Patricia Heaton.

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Tracking suggests Moms' Night Out will open in the $10-million range, although it could easily outperform expectations. In the $5-million film, a stressed-out mother of young children (Sarah Drew) attempts an outing with other moms from the same congregation, including Heaton, whose production company, FourBoys Films, is a producer. The film also stars Heaton's husband, David Hunt, along with Sean Astin and country music star Trace Adkins as a tattooed biker who comes to the aid of the women when their plans go awry. 

The outlook for independent animated film Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return is uncertain. U.S. distributor Clarius Entertainment believes the family movie could cross $10 million, but some box office observers are predicting less.

A feast of films launch at the specialty box office, including indie drama God's Pocket, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Director Jon Favreau's well-reviewed food-truck comedy Chef, starring Favreau opposite Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo and Scarlett Johansson, also debuts, as does Richard Ayoade's The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, and Gia Coppola's Palo Alto, starring James Franco and Emma Roberts.

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