May 12 (Bloomberg) -- “Neighbors,” a Universal Pictures comedy with Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, opened as the top weekend film in U.S. and Canadian theaters, handily beating one estimate and toppling last week’s leader, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
“Neighbors” took in sales of $49 million, researcher Rentrak Corp. said in a statement today. Sony Corp.’s “Spider-Man” collected $35.5 million in its second week, while the new film “Moms’ Night Out,” also from Sony, opened with $4.3 million, trailing estimates. A third new release, Clarius Entertainment LLC’s “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” produced $3.7 million.
Hollywood tackled the second weekend of the summer film season with an eclectic mix of films appealing to fans from different demographic groups. Rogen and Efron each have their own followings, while the animated “Legends of Oz” catered to children and “Spider-Man” drew super-hero lovers. “Moms’ Night Out” targeted women on Mother’s Day weekend.
“Neighbors” is “a clear example of a word-of-mouth hit starting with the Thursday evening preview shows,” said Phil Contrino, a vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “People clearly responded to it, and critics were also behind it, which is pretty rare for a raunchy comedy.”
The movie was the fifth-best R-rated debut ever with “The Hangover Part II” the highest at $85.9 million in May 2011, according to Rentrak.
The neighbors are Rogen, a popular figure in comedies, and Efron, a Disney Channel heartthrob who starred in the “High School Musical” TV movies and has graduated to adult roles.
Rogen plays the settled-down husband and family man, Mac Radner, whose quiet life is upended when fraternity president Teddy Sanders, played by Efron, moves in next door with his buddies.
“Neighbors” was made for about $18 million, according to Box Office Mojo, an industry researcher. It was forecast to produce opening-weekend sales of $39 million for theaters and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, the estimate of BoxOffice.com. The film had a 74 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com, which sums up reviews with a single number.
“The concept is appealing, marketing has been terrific, and reviews have been sensational, which will make ticket buyers feel like their money will not be wasted,” Gitesh Pandya, chief executive officer of Boxofficeguru.com, said on his website.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” featuring Andrew Garfield in the title role for the second time, was expected to take in $37 million this past weekend, BoxOffice.com estimated.
Garfield returns as the sensitive high school student Peter Parker, endowed with the super powers that make him Spider-Man.
In this installment, Parker faces the villains Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, and the Green Goblin, and is torn between saving the streets of New York and protecting his girlfriend Gwen Stacy, played again by Emma Stone.
The film is the biggest release of 2014 for Sony Pictures, which has additional sequels set for 2016 and 2018, according to Box Office Mojo, as well as plans for spinoff characters.
The studio unit of Tokyo-based Sony is counting more on international ticket sales to recoup production and marketing costs estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. As of May 11, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” had generated $550.8 million globally, according to Box Office Mojo.
The comedy “Moms’ Night Out” placed seventh in its debut. The film features Sarah Drew as Allyson, a mom who wants to enjoy an adult night out with friends. She, like her pals, counts on her husband to keep an eye on the kids for three hours, according to a synopsis from the studio.
The picture turns into a road movie of sorts, with stops at a tattoo parlor and jail, along with a car chase. BoxOffice.com projected weekend sales of $7 million.
“When something like ‘Neighbors’ overperforms, it has an impact on everything,” Contrino of BoxOffice.com said. “Ultimately, it was overshadowed by the success of ‘The Other Woman,’” which also aimed at female demographics and was third in the weekend ranking, he said. It had $9.6 million in receipts.
“Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” distributed in the U.S. by Clarius, features Lea Michele as the voice of the Midwestern girl Dorothy, along with Dan Aykroyd as the Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammer as the Tin Man and Jim Belushi as the cowardly Lion.
The animated feature follows the continuing adventures of Dorothy, who wakes up in post-tornado Kansas, and then returns to Oz to save her friends from a new villain.
The film was produced by Prana Studios, which has production offices in Los Angeles and Mumbai, and does work for several major Hollywood studios. BoxOffice.com was predicting revenue of $4.5 million.
Weekend revenue for the top 10 films fell 18 percent to $123.8 million from a year earlier, Rentrak data showed. Domestic box-office sales year to date are up 6.1 percent to $3.5 billion.
The following table has U.S. movie box office figures provided by studios to Rentrak Corp. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales from May 9 to May 11.
Rev. Pct. Avg./ Total Movie (mln) Chg. Theaters Theater (mln) Wks ================================================================ 1 Neighbors $49.0 -- 3,279 $14,954 $49.0 1 2 Spider-Man 2 35.5 -61 4,324 8,210 146.2 2 3 Other Woman 9.6 -33 3,306 2,906 62.1 3 4 Heaven Is For Real 7.5 -13 3,048 2,455 75.7 4 5 The Winter Soldier 5.8 -26 2,701 2,129 245.1 6 6 Rio 2 5.0 -35 2,973 1,692 113.1 5 7 Mom’s Night Out 4.3 -- 1,044 4,129 4.3 1 8 Legends Of Oz 3.7 -- 2,525 1,472 3.7 1 9 Divergent 1.7 -20 1,233 1,414 145.1 8 10 Brick Mansions 1.6 -55 1,954 841 18.5 3 Top 10 Films Grosses This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $123.8 $150.6 -18 Year-to-date Revenue 2014 2013 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $3,504 $3,303 6.1 Source: Rentrak Corp.