*Animated family film “Home” with lead voice Rihanna handily beat Kevin Hart and Will Farrell’s “Get Hard” at the North American box office over the weekend.
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation film pulled a domestic $54 million from 3,708 theaters; while overseas, the movie earned $48.2 million for an early worldwide total of $102.2 million, including an OK $24 million for the weekend from 64 foreign markets.
In the U.S., Warner Bros.’ R-rated comedy “Get Hard” placed second with $34.6 million from 3,175 locations. “Get Hard” marks the largest R-rated opening ever for stars Hart and Ferrell, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Heading into the weekend, both films were tipped to earn in the mid-$30 million range, but “Home,” about a teenager on the run (Rihanna) who teams up with a misfit alien (Jim Parsons), vastly exceeded expectations for DreamWorks Animation (DWA) and partner Fox. Rihanna’s star power was a big boost, and marks her first turn in an animated film.
The 3D title marks the best opening for a DWA film since “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” ($60.3 million) in summer 2012, and the third-best showing ever for an original DWA title after “Kung Fu Panda” ($60.2 million) and “Monsters vs. Aliens” ($59.3 million), not accounting for inflation.
“Home is a return to the quality that DreamWorks Animation is known for,” said Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson, noting that the movie will do brisk midweek business because of spring break. Not only that, there isn’t another animated film until Pixar’s “Inside Out” on June 19.
“Get Hard,” costing $40 million to make, stars Ferrell as a wealthy businessman who thinks he’s going to jail for tax evasion, so he hires a car washer (Hart) to teach him how to survive being in prison for 10 years. Males made up the majority of the audience (54 percent), while 61 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25.
“The chemistry between Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell was a big draw everywhere, from large cities to small towns, and certainly in urban markets,” said Warners domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman.
Internationally, where American comedies aren’t an easy sell, “Get Hard” grossed $4.6 million from its first nine markets, including a strong $2 million in the U.K. And in the United Arab Emirates, it grossed $606,000, the third-best opening for a Warners comedy behind the second two “Hangover” installments.