Box Office: ‘Get Hard’ Opens with $1.8 Million Thursday Night

Warner Bros.’ Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard” has launched solidly with $1.8 million in Thursday night showings in the U.S.

Get Hard” will expand to 3,175 locations Friday. The R-rated laffer has been forecast to launch with at least $30 million this weekend, putting it in a tight race with the opening of DreamWorks’ animated family comedy “Home,” released by Fox.

The Thursday night number was well ahead of the $1.1 million for Hart’s “Ride Along,” which went on to gross $41.5 million in its opening weekend last April.

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

“Home” took in $650,000 at Thursday night  shows — a promising start with 15% of K-12 schools out for spring break. “Rio 2” opened with $375,000 last April when 9% of K-12 schools were out and wound up the weekend with $39.3 million.

“Home,” which opens at 3,708 locations today, also easily topped the Thursday night launch of $200,000 for “The Croods” on March 22, 2013, when 13% of K-12 schools were out. “The Croods” went on to post a $43.6 million opening weekend.

“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.

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