Will weak word of mouth spell doom for Sony's Summer?
Well, this is unexpected.
Hollywood studios produce enough big action movies throughout the year to have a brand new one open every single week of Summer with plenty left over, so why don't they? Because if a blockbuster has "legs" (industry speak for "makes big money for a long stretch of time") it could gobble up the potential ticket sales of the following week's big movie, and nobody likes to open in second place. That's why no major new action or family movies (Summer's two biggest genres) are opening this week, because everyone had assumed that Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would be a major hit and spend at least two weeks in first place, with Godzilla expected to blow everything else off the screen on May 16th.
But now, with TASM2 opening softer than most had projected (it failed to out-earn Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which many including Sony were citing as a reliable measure,) mediocre reviews from critics (55% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the first "Rotten" Spider-Man movie) and with a weaker than expected B+ from the famously generous Cinemascore ratings, that logic is being widely questioned. Industry trade The Wrap now reports that the first "stunner" of Summer 2014 could very likely be Spidey losing his top spot after only one week... to a raunchy comedy starring Seth Rogen and High School Musical's Zac Efron.
The math goes like this: The Rogen/Efron vehicle, Neighbors, - in which a young suburban family gets into a prank war with a rowdy college fraternity that moves in next door - has been tracking to open with as much as $40 millon, a huge number for a non-PG13 comedy in May. TASM2, on the other hand, has what The Wrap calls "a distinct possibility" of taking a 60% plunge off it's $91 million first weekend. If both come to pass, Neighbors would take first place.
While this outcome is by no means certain, it would be a major feather in the cap for Universal Pictures - "beating" a Marvel superhero with an R-rated comedy is the box-office equipment of taking down an elephant with a pellet gun: Difficult, but not impossible. It would also be the latest in a string of black-eyes for Sony, which saw a mini-revolt among shareholders last Summer when both After Earth and White House Down failed to perform.
Source: The Wrap