By Daniel Garris
Universal's Dumb and Dumber To took in $36.11 million this weekend to claim first place. The long awaited comedy sequel starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels outpaced Big Hero 6 by $1.45 million for the frame, in what turned out to be a close race for first place. Dumb and Dumber To slightly exceeded expectations this weekend, as the film proved to be critic-proof. Pre-release online buzz for the film had been relatively soft as well, but fans of the original 1994 film clearly showed up in a big way on opening weekend. Dumb and Dumber To represented the largest live-action debut for Carrey since the $67.95 million debut of Bruce Almighty back in 2003. For a number of reasons, box office comparisons are tough to make to Carrey's more recent films. Dumb and Dumber To did open 13 percent ahead of the $32.06 million start of last year's Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.
Dumb and Dumber To opened in first place on Friday with $14.23 million (which included $1.6 million from Thursday night shows), decreased a slim 2 percent on Saturday to fall to second with $13.92 million and fell 43 percent on Sunday to gross $7.96 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at a respectable 2.54 to 1. The film did receive a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore, which along with a fan-driven opening weekend, could signal front-loading going forward, though that remains to be seen. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards male moviegoers (55 percent) and towards moviegoers 25 years and older (57 percent).
Disney's Big Hero 6 placed in a close second with $34.66 million. The 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios held up well this weekend, as it declined a healthy 38 percent from last weekend's strong start. Big Hero 6 surpassed the $100 million mark this weekend and has now grossed $110.31 million through ten days of release. That is in line with the film's lofty pre-release expectations and places Big Hero 6 18 percent ahead of the $93.65 million ten-day take of 2012's Wreck-It Ralph (which fell 33 percent in its second weekend to gross $33.01 million). Big Hero 6 represents another strong recent performer for Walt Disney Animation Studios, joining the likes of Wreck-It Ralph, 2010's Tangled and last year's Frozen. The film will likely continue to hold up well throughout the holiday season.
Also holding up well this weekend was Paramount's Interstellar. The high-profile Christopher Nolan directed sci-fi film was down an encouraging 40 percent from last weekend's lower than expected debut to place in third with $28.31 million. This weekend's hold was especially encouraging given the new competition the film faced for older moviegoers from Dumber and Dumber To. Interstellar is being helped out by its continued strong IMAX grosses, from good word of mouth and from its long running time and older-skewing audience leading to some natural back-loading. Interstellar is on the verge of reaching the $100 million mark with $96.93 million after ten days of wide release. It should be noted that Interstellar has fallen further behind the pace of last year's Gravity. Interstellar is now running 21 percent behind the $122.32 million ten-day take of Gravity (which fell just 23 percent in its second weekend to gross $43.19 million).
Beyond the Lights opened in fourth place this weekend with $6.20 million. Despite strong reviews and strong pre-release online buzz levels, the low-budget drama from Relativity opened below expectations. Beyond the Lights debuted 17 percent below the recent $7.49 million start of Addicted (which opened in significantly fewer locations). Beyond the Lights started out with $2.30 million on Friday, increased 15 percent on Saturday to gross $2.64 million and declined a sharp 53 percent on Sunday to gross $1.25 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.69 to 1. The film did receive a strong A rating on CinemaScore.
Fox's Gone Girl rounded out the weekend's top five with $4.56 million. In the process, the critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film surpassed the $150 million domestic mark this weekend. Gone Girl continues to display terrific holding power, as it was down just 27 percent from last weekend. The 45-day total for the film stands at $152.64 million.
Upon expanding into wider release, Fox Searchlight's Birdman claimed tenth place with $2.47 million. That was up a slim 7 percent from last weekend and gave the Alejandro González Iñárritu directed awards season hopeful starring Michael Keaton a modest per-location average of $2,884 from 857 locations. After a very strong platform start, Birdman has been unable to maintain momentum as it has expanded into wider release. With that said, the film has still grossed a very respectable $11.597 million to date and will hope to stick around throughout the awards season.
In limited release, neither Open Road's Rosewater nor Samuel Goldwyn's Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas lit the box office on fire this weekend. The Jon Stewart directed Rosewater opened with $1.15 million from 371 locations, while the Kirk Cameron led Saving Christmas was slightly softer with $0.99 million from 410 locations. Respective per-location averages were $3,111 for Rosewater and $2,420 for Saving Christmas.
Sony Pictures Classics' Foxcatcher was off to a more encouraging start in platform release with $270,877 from 6 locations. That gave the Bennett Miller directed awards season hopeful starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum a healthy per-location average of $45,146 for the frame.
Elsewhere in platform release, Focus' The Theory of Everything expanded nicely with $735,398 from 41 locations. That gave the James Marsh directed awards season hopeful a strong per-location average of $17,937 for the frame. The Theory of Everything has grossed $1.03 million through ten days of platform release.