The proof is in the pudding: movies based on smartphone apps can top the box office, as Sony’s The Angry Birds Movie dethrones Captain America: Civil War with an estimated $39 million.
In what was arguably the most competitive weekend at the 2016 box office thus far, Sony’s The Angry Birds Movie vaulted to the No. 1 spot rather handily, breezing past newcomers Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and The Nice Guys as it exceeded Civil War‘s third weekend haul by nearly $6 million. Still, Civil War became Disney’s third 2016 film to top the $300 million mark, as its domestic gross now stands at $347 million with worldwide numbers totaling roughly $1.053 billion. Year-to-date, the domestic box office is up 5.8 percent from 2015.
At 3,932 locations, The Angry Birds Movie was the weekend’s widest new release, besting Neighbors 2‘s count by nearly 550 screens. The Universal comedy sequel grossed significantly less than expectations, which had the film on track for an opening in excess of $30 million. Its predecessor earned $49 million across its first weekend frame on the way to a $150 North American total.
Though Neighbors 2‘s opening numbers underwhelmed, summer comedies typically have longer legs, and even the worst-reviewed of the genre (Vacation, Tammy) have overcome modest mid-year openings on their way to solid domestic totals in the recent past. With a so-so B CinemaScore grade and better-than-average reviews, Neighbors 2 faces very little competition in the near future, as the next major comedy to open is Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping on June 3, giving Seth Rogen and company a shot at a healthy second weekend with minimal runoff. With its target audience (college students) out of class for summer break, Neighbors 2 should have little to worry about in the coming weeks.
The Nice Guys, Warner Bros.’ critically-acclaimed buddy comedy, debuted to a solid estimated $11.27 million, slightly exceeding expectations, which initially pegged the film for a $10 million debut. The Ryan Gosling/Russell Crowe film premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival earlier this week, earning raves for the on-screen chemistry between its stars, and its opening weekend audience skewed under-35. Though critics lauded the film, audiences weren’t on the same page, as The Nice Guys earned a lukewarm B- grade from CinemaScore. Either way, Warner Bros., taking on little risk after acquiring domestic distribution rights to the film, is looking at a healthy run for the picture thanks to the inherent likability of its leads.
May 20-22 weekend box office estimates:
Outside the top 10, still in limited release, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster continues to impress in the specialty market, soaring to $408,000 on excellent word-of-mouth as it expands to 24 locations for a cumulative total of $1.038 million. A24 is planning to release the Colin Farrell-starring film wide on May 27.