Daddy’s Home and other post-Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases are demonstrating the brilliance of opening on the heels of a big movie.
Ferrell’s comedic output, at least on the big screen, has long been viewed as hit-or-miss. For every Talladega Nights or Step Brothers, there is a Semi-Pro or Blades of Glory.
But audiences have kept the big lug around, and they have also shown that, for better or worse, they prefer him in the goofball comedy roles for which he is known rather than the more serious fare he’s experimented with (i.e. Everything Must Go, Stranger Than Fiction).
With Daddy’s Home, he returns to comedy, and despite critical hatred for the film, it really does seem to be working out for him.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is more than a little to thank for that for reasons that will be divulged in a moment.
First off, though, here’s an overview of how Daddy’s Home is doing.
Critical aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has the film with just a 29 percent rating, making it an undisputed “rotten” to add to the resume of Ferrell and co-star Mark Wahlberg.
Out of 66 reviews tallied on the website from professional film critics, only 19 have considered the film worth a viewer’s time.
Audiences on the site seem to like it more, but they’re clearly not in love with it, with just 68 percent giving it a good rating.
To say that Daddy’s Home is leaving a lukewarm impression would be an understatement, but the box office is another story.
According to Box Office Mojo, the film, which released on Christmas Day, took home $15.7 million, all but guaranteeing a profit since it still has a weekend audience to play to.
While production budget numbers have not yet been released, it’s likely a small figure with Wahlberg and Ferrell’s collective salaries being the highest-priced line items.
It is conceivable that the film could do close to $50 million if the numbers hold, and that isn’t something anyone saw coming since most Ferrell movies — even the good ones — enjoy openings of around $30 million (i.e. Step Brothers, Elf, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy).
If the pace holds, Daddy’s Home may end up being the most successful opening for any Will Ferrell movie since Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which managed to gross $47 million on its opening weekend and go on to gross close to $163 million worldwide per Box Office Mojo.
Clearly, there is another factor at play here for the film, and the most obvious answer is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which continues to smash box office records as it charts the fastest course to $1 billion of any movie ever.
While it cannot be proven without a little more extensive research, the likely scenario goes something like this.
TFA opened on the night of Dec. 17 and grossed $517 million worldwide on its first weekend. Most of the people who saw it were general audiences and hardcore fans.
As the success of TFA has held up, there are a lot of the movie’s fans, who are going to see it two, three, or four times.
Among these individuals are children with parents, who would rather watch something else while their kids are in yet another showing of Star Wars. This same scenario may also be playing out for adult Star Wars fans.
Last but not least, many non-Star Wars fans are presiding over a lack of options at this point, with no big-budget and/or high-profile films brave enough to release so closely to TFA.
Films like Daddy’s Home as well as smaller character-driven and critically-acclaimed films (i.e. The Revenant, The Hateful Eight) can do particularly well in the climate SW has created.
Have you seen Daddy’s Home, film fans? Is it worth the big box office take?
[Image via Daddy’s Home screen grab]