home movie jennifer lopez

DreamWorks/Fox’s animated comedy “Home” is heading for a better-than-forecasted $44 million opening weekend while the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart buddy comedy “Get Hard” is looking at $38 million.

Early projections showed “Home” notching a $12 million opening day on Friday, including $650,000 at Thursday night  shows — a promising start with 15% of K-12 schools out for spring break. It looks likely to finish above Fox-Blue Sky’s “Rio 2,″ which opened last April when 9% of K-12 schools were out and wound up the weekend with $39.3 million.

Recent forecasts pegged “Home” as finishing in the $30 million to $35 million range. Although reviews have been mixed and the movie has a 41% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Home” has a well-recognized voice talent cast with Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin in a tale of a young girl meeting an alien.

With an opening of well over $40 million, “Home” looks likely to outperform recent DreamWorks releases handled by Fox, including “Penguins of Madagascar” at $35.4 million for five days, “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” with $32.2 million for three days and “Turbo” with $31 million for five days.

“Home,” which has a $130 million pricetag, has already launched impressively in international territories with $20.1 million from 10 markets, (including a $9.1 million debut in the U.K. last weekend).

Warner Bros.’ “Get Hard” has also launched solidly with $1.8 million in Thursday night showings in the U.S. It’s expanding to 3,175 locations and appears to be coming in at the high end of forecasts.

“Get Hard” — which carries a $40 million pricetag — is debuting amid lingering controversy following a mixed reaction to its March 16 premiere at SXSW, where some in the audience criticized the film as racist and homophobic. That may have raised overall awareness of the movie, which centers on a white man who hires a black man to be his prison coach.

Reviews for “Get Hard” have been more negative than “Home” and it has a 31% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But both Ferrell and Hart have demonstrated solid drawing power and fan bases at the box office — Ferrell with “Anchorman: The Legend Continues” ($127.4 million) and Hart with “Ride Along” ($135 million) and “The Wedding Ringer” ($64 million).

Lionsgate’s second weekend of “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” will finish third at around $25 million, dropping about 52% from its opening. Friday’s total was projected to be above $7 million, moving the Shailene Woodley actioner past $70 million in its eighth day.

Disney’s third frame of “Cinderella” will follow in fourth, earning in the $18 million to $20 million range following a Friday in the $5 million plus area. The fairy tale film should wind up the weekend with over $150 million.

Radius’ ambitious expansion of horror vehicle “It Follows” into 1,218 theaters appeared heading for a $5 million weekend. It’s grossed an impressive $734,463 at 32 sites in two weeks.

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