'Horrible Bosses' Opens to Strong $28.1 Mil As 'Transformers' Becomes Year's No. 1 Movie

Paramount’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon remained a goliath in its second weekend to become the top pic of 2011 domestically, but there was plenty of business left over for Warner Bros./New Line’s raunchy comedy Horrible Bosses.

The latest R-rated laffer to outpace expectations, Horrible Bosses opened to $28.1 million to place No. 2 behind Dark of the Moon, according to Rentrak.

Dark of the Moon has now earned $261 million at the domestic box office, supplanting Warners’ The Hangover Part II ($149.6 million) as the year’s biggest earner.

Overseas, Michael Bay’s 3D tentpole grossed $93 million over the weekend for a massive international cume of $384 million and worldwide total of $645 million—the No. 2 pic of the year behind Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which has now grossed $1.02 billion, the seventh best showing of all time.

Sony and MGM’s new Kevin James family comedy Zookeeper came in No. 3 at the domestic box office, grossing $21 million. The pic cost $80 million to produce, so it will have to do brisk business worldwide to come out ahead.

Both Zookeeper and Horrible Bosses received a B+.

Directed by Seth Gordon, Horrible Bosses features an all-star ensemble cast led by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. The storyline revolves around three employees who plot to kill their respective bosses.

Brett Ratner’s company Rat Entertainment produced Horrible Bosses, which appealed heavily to moviegoers between the ages of 18 and 24. Males made up 51% of the audience, and gave the pic an A- CinemaScore. Females gave it a B+. All told 64% of those buying tickets were over the age of 25.

Horrible Bosses, costing a modest $37 million to produce, played well across the U.S., including in small markets.

“It’s a concept we can all relate too. We’ve all heard about the mythical boss from hell, even if we’ve never had one,” Warner Bros. executive vice president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein said. “We’ll be around for a long time.”

Horrible Bosses opened ahead of Universal’s sleeper hit Bridesmaids ($26.2 million), but behind Sony’s Cameron Diaz raunchy comedy Bad Teacher ($31.6 million).

Goldstein said it was notable that business was up 10% on Saturday, considering that most R-rated films see a drop from Friday to Saturday, including Bad Teacher, which fell 10% on Saturday.

Zookeeper originated at MGM, but Sony signed on to distribute and co-finance the movie when MGM ran into financial trouble.
The movie opened in a handful of markets over the weekend, including Mexico and Germany, grossing $7.5 million for a worldwide launch of $28.5 million.

“We are happy not only with the results of the opening, but with how audiences are embracing the film,” Sony worldwide president of distribution Rory Bruer said.

Families made up 52% of the audience, according to exit polling.

Initially, MGM and Sony envisioned the film as a general audience play, the studios readjusted their expectations when tracking showed Zookeeper playing best to kids under 12. The animals in Zookeeper, directed by Frank Coraci, are voiced by Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte, Don Rickles, Judd Apatow, Jon Favreau, Cher and Faizon Love.

Sandler’s production company Happy Madison produced Zookeeper, which came in well below the $31.8 million earned by James starrer Paul Blart: Mall Cop in its opening weekend.

Disney and Pixar’s Cars 2 came in No. 4 for the weekend domestically, grossing $15.2 million for a cume of $148.8 millon. Overseas, the 3D toon grossed $26.9 million for a cume of $121.6 million and worldwide total of $270.4 million.

Even with competition from Horrible Bosses, Bad Teacher held up well to place No. 5 at the domestic box office, grossing $9 million for a cume of $78.8 million.

Peter Oberth
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