Everyone wants to live next door to Seth Rogen and Zac Efron.
Exceeding all expectations, their new Universal film Neighbors laughed its way to a $51.1 million domestic debut over Mother’s Day weekend — the No. 4 three-day opening of all time for an R-rated comedy. Rose Byrne also stars in the $18 million movie, which easily toppled holdover The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
The raunchy movie also soared overseas, where it grossed a hefty $34.4 million from 29 countries, placing No. 1 in 17 of those, including the U.K., Australia and Germany.
Domestically, Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell to No. 2 as it declined 59 percent in its second weekend, more than Sony would have liked, grossing $37.2 million from 4,324 locations for a domestic total of $147.9 million. Comparisons to the first Amazing Spider-Man are problematic, since that film debuted over July Fourth week on its way to earning $200.5 million by the end of its second weekend.
The superhero sequel is still in good shape, and continues to do big business internationally, where it earned $69.5 million over the weekend for a foreign total of $403 million and global haul of $550.9 million.
Heading into the weekend, box office observers predicted a close race between Neighbors, playing in 3,279 theaters, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 (each was expected to gross around $42 million).
Neighbors is a victory for all involved, particularly Rogen and Efron (it is by far Rogen’s best opening for a live-action title). The comedy also starts off Universal’s summer in style, and rolls out three weeks before the studio debuts another R-rated comedy, Seth MacFarlane‘s A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Directed by Nick Stoller, the filmmaker behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Five-Year Engagement, Neighbors was produced by This Is the End team of Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver. (Rogen and Goldberg also directed that 2013 end-of-the-world comedy.) Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake‘s Good Universe is also a producer.
Universal domestic distribution chief Nikki Rocco emailed with Rogen and the other filmmakers throughout the weekend. “They never expected this kind of opening. Seth is beyond thrilled,” she said, noting that 53 percent of the audience was female, an unusually high turnout for a raunchy comedy.
The R-rated Universal story follows a young couple (Rogen and Byrne) with a new baby, whose quiet suburban lifestyle is ruined when a rowdy frat moves in next door. Interestingly, the well-reviewed film only earned a B CinemaScore.
The Hangover: Part II still sports the top weekend opening of all time for an R-rated film ($85.9 million), followed by Sex and the City ($57 million) and Ted ($54.4 million).
The other two movies opening nationwide over Mother’s Day weekend failed to wow.
Christian female comedy Moms’ Night Out, hoping to take part in the boom enjoyed by a recent string of faith-based movies, opened to $4.2 million from 1,044 theaters to come in No. 7. Ironically, the $10 million film was beat by fellow TriStar faith-based film Heaven Is for Real, which placed No. 4 in its fourth weekend with $7 million, putting its domestic total at a stunning $75.2 million.
Starring Patricia Heaton and Sarah Drew, Moms’ Night Out revolves around a stressed-out mother of young children who attempts an outing with other moms from the same congregation.
Moms’ Night Out also may have faced competition from Fox’s female comedy The Other Woman, which placed a strong No. 3 in its third weekend, grossing $9.6 million from 3,306 theaters for a domestic total of $61.7 million.
Independent animated film Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return placed No. 8 with $3.7 million from 2,525 theaters. Production company Summertime Entertainment is facing a major hit, considering it cost $70 million to make. It’s one of the worst openings of all time for a film opened in 2,500 to 3,000 locations.
At the specialty box office, director Jon Favreau‘s well-reviewed food-truck film Chef cooked up a strong opening for the filmmaker and Open Road Films, grossing $204,201 from six theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $34,034, the best of the weekend. Favreau also stars in the indie comedy opposite Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo and Scarlett Johansson.
Gia Coppola‘s Palo Alto made a respectable showing, opening to $80,640 from four locations for a location average of $20,160. The indie film, distributed by Tribeca Films, stars James Franco and Emma Roberts.
IFC’s God’s Pocket, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, posted a more modest opening, grossing $23,400 from three theaters for a location average of $23,400.
Documentary Fed Up opened to a pleasing $130,000 from 18 theaters for an average of $7,200. The film, narrated and produced by Katie Couric, explores the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and the skyrocketing rate of obesity. Distributor Radius-TWC intends to soon release a Spanish-language version of the film.
Here are the top 10 estimates for the weekend of May 9-May 11 at the domestic box office:
Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Drop, Cume
1. Neighbors, 1/3,279, Universal, $51.1 million.
2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 2/4,324, Sony, $37.2 million, -59%, $147.9 million.
3. The Other Woman, 3/3,306, Fox, $9.6 million, -36%, $61.7 million.
4. Heaven Is for Real, 4/3,048 Sony/TriStar, $7 million, -19%, $75.2 million.
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 6/2,701, Disney/Marvel, $5.6 million, -28%, $244.9 million.
6. Rio 2, 5/2,973, Fox/Blue Sky, $5.1 million, -34%, $113.2 million.
7. Moms’ Night Out, 1/1,044, Sony/TriStar, $4.1 million.
8. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, 1/2,525, Clarius, $3.7 million.
9. Divergent, 8/1,233, Lionsgate/Summit, $1.7 million, -22%, $145 million.
10. Brick Mansions, 3/1,954, Relativity/EuropaCorp, $1.5 million, -60%, $18.3 million.