Daddy’s Home has been a big loser — to critics.
It’s quite another story, however, when you see how audiences are taking to the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg comedy.
While Ferrell would probably be the first to admit that he’s had some movies stub their toe at the box office, this isn’t one of them.
Call it riding the Star Wars wave if you wish, but after opening in theaters on Christmas Day, Daddy’s Home has managed to rack up $93.6 million in domestic box office and an additional $21.9 million overseas for a worldwide take of $115.5 million.
Considering that it’s coming off a $29 million weekend, the film is down less than 30 percent of its opening weekend take ($38.74 million), according to Box Office Mojo.
That small of a drop is almost unheard of for movies these days. Typically, even successful mega blockbusters can expect a decline of anywhere from 50 to 60 percent from their opening to second weekends.
So just how can such inexplicable success be accounted for when so many critics hate this thing (29 percent currently on Rotten Tomatoes)?
One piece of evidence might be found in the RT audience response. While the 62 percent approval barely gets Daddy’s Home an “audience fresh” rating, it’s more than double the critical approval.
Ferrell and Wahlberg, for better or worse, have clearly made a movie for fans. They didn’t care about technical achievement here, but they did manage to pack in enough laughs to draw a crowd that typically responds to this sort of thing.
Furthermore, Daddy’s Home plays it safe on the content factor, going for the PG-13 rating and thus making it a safe picture for families to go see, who may be burned out on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but are still looking to spend a weekend at the movies.
Thirdly, there is the likability of the two leading men.
Ferrell has spent much of his career building good will with audiences on films like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and Step Brothers.
Those widely embraced comedies have given Will Ferrell some working capital with audiences, who are willing to forgive him for misfires like Semi-Pro and Blades of Glory.
Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, has proven to be a rare actor capable of playing tough, dramatic roles, while also crisscrossing into comedy, and sticking him in a lighthearted family comedy like this gives it even more commercial value.
If the film continues to drop in 30 percent increments from weekend to weekend — at least for the first month — it could be Ferrell’s first $200 million live-action film in which he had a starring role. That’s unusual given that it is hardly the first film that comes to mind when you think about his comedy.
As for Ferrell’s 2016, he has three projects lined up. The most high profile, at present, is a role in Zoolander 2. There is also the period dramedy Zeroville, directed by actor James Franco and starring Ferrell and Megan Fox. Last but not least, Ferrell will be playing the legendary schlock filmmaker Russ Meyer in Russ & Roger Go Beyond.
The film is being billed as a comedy, and it will center on the story behind the making of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, when Meyer teamed up with a young film critic named Roger Ebert to make what some call one of the worst films of all time and others call a masterpiece.
(It’s never boring, that’s for sure.)
As for Daddy’s Home, did you see it? What are your thoughts?
[Image via Daddy’s Home trailer screen grab]