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Weekend Box Office: It Follows is a hit or a flop, depending on who you ask

Is David Robert Mitchell’s terrific indie creepshow It Follows the sleeper hit of the season? Or is it a box-office flameout—a case of a little movie brought prematurely to the big arena of multiplexes, where it couldn’t really compete? After the film did gangbusters business for a couple weeks in limited release, the Weinsteins basically took it wide this weekend; on about 1,200 screens, it made roughly $4 million, landing in fifth place on the charts. Forbes, for one, thinks that qualifies the movie as a bona fide flop—and indeed, if this were a Blumhouse production or a Platinum Dunes release, there’d be no other way to talk about it. But It Follows made its modest sum without conventional marketing or a single bankable star. It’s a low-budget indie running on great reviews and word-of-mouth. By that metric, the movie could be considered a success story—especially as the Weinsteins are expanding into it more markets next weekend. Then again, take our slanted analysis with a grain of salt. As big fans, we have a dog in this fight.

Certainly, It Follows couldn’t measure up to the weekend’s big winners, a pair of instant box-office hits that catered to very different demographics. Indiscriminate Rihanna fans seeking a big-screen babysitter found one in Home, which opened in first place with $54 million—a hair less than the debut grosses of recent animated smashes Big Hero 6 and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, but also more than what DreamWorks claimed out the gate with its last two products, Penguins Of Madagascar and How To Train Your Dragon 2. Meanwhile, indiscriminate comedy fans flocked to Get Hard, hoping that two great tastes might taste great together. Judging from the movie’s “B” Cinemascore (a mixed reaction, because, again, Cinemascore is stupid), audiences like prison-sex jokes and racial stereotypes only a little more than critics do. Nonetheless, the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart buddy picture opened with $34.6 million, which is probably enough to guarantee a sequel where the two try to bust out of a Mexican prison or something.

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While the rest of the box-office top ten was dominated by holdovers, with Insurgent shedding about half of its opening-weekend audience and Cinderella passing the $150 million mark, only a single other new release did noteworthy business. That would be While We’re Young, the new generation-gap comedy from Noah Baumbach, made $242,000 on four screens. That’s the best debut ever for the writer-director, which makes sense, as Young is easily his most mainstream movie yet. Expect it to expand to more markets next weekend, when we’ll inevitably find a way to frame its performance—no matter how modest—as a success story. Hey, we like this one too!

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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