Bro comedy 'Neighbors' gets weekend box office party started

Box office: Seth Rogen comedy 'Neighbors' exceeds expectations with $19.6 million Friday

"Neighbors," the Seth Rogen comedy pitting family against frat boys, opened to $19.6 million Friday, a figure that exceeded even the most optimistic expectations and put the R-rated movie on track for a first weekend that will approach $50 million.

The box office returns weren't as kind to last weekend's No. 1 movie, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," which took in $10.1 million Friday, leading to a second weekend forecast of $37 million. That would represent a 60% drop from the Marvel movie's $94-million opening -- a steep figure, though not out of line for the comic book genre.

Demographic information wasn't yet available for "Neighbors'" opening-day assemblage, but its relatively low Cinemascore B grade would seem to indicate that, in attracting a wide audience, it drew in more than a few people who didn't fully appreciate its raunchy, R-rated humor and pervasive pot smoking.

The comedy won generally good reviews (it scored a 68 at Metacritic), with the user comments at that site (roughly 75% loved it, 25% hated it, with very little middle ground) mirroring the Cinemascore rating. 

The key to "Neighbors'" continued success might be in wooing women to theaters and, in that respect, it has a secret weapon in the presence of Rose Byrne, who plays Rogen's wife. Byrne's character isn't a scold; she's struggling with the responsibilities of parenthood as much as his (barely) reformed party dude. Though Rogen and co-star Zac Efron are on the movie's one-sheet, Byrne steals the movie. And if she steals women's hearts, then "Neighbors" could hold on in theaters in the coming weeks.

Two other movies debuted Friday to more limited success. The animated "The Legend of Oz: Dorothy's Return," the first release from Clarius Entertainment, took in $915,000, with $4 million forecast for the weekend. The faith-based "Moms Night Out" is on track for about $4 million, too, after a $1.2-million opening day.

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