Angry Birds knock Captain America from top of box office pecking order

The Angry Birds Movie soared to $39m in its debut weekend at the US box office, knocking Captain America: Civil War off its perch at the top. New adult comedies Neighbors 2 and The Nice Guys struggled to get their footing, according to comScore estimates on Sunday.

Rovio Animation spearheaded the production of The Angry Birds Movie, which cost around $73m and opened strongly internationally last weekend. The film has already earned $150m worldwide, according to estimates from Sony.

The Angry Birds Movie features the voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Danny McBride and, as an attempt to create a compelling story out of a fairly simplistic app-based game, has received mixed reviews from critics. Audiences under 25, however, gave the film an A CinemaScore, which should help the film continue to perform well over Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s very difficult turning a video game property into a successful movie,” said Josh Greenstein, Sony’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution. “To use a bad pun, we are flying high.”

ComScore’s senior media analyst, Paul Dergarabedian, said the success of Angry Birds likely had more to do with family appeal and ingrained brand recognition.

“Families are always looking for out-of-the-home content,” Dergarabedian said, noting also that the film was the latest in a string of very successful PG-rated films including The Jungle Book and Zootopia.

“PG is the hot new rating now. There used to be a stigma that younger teens wouldn’t be interested. The numbers prove that when you go after the broadest base possible, you can be highly successful.”

The PG-13 rated Captain America: Civil War was not too far behind, earning an additional $33.1m for a second-place spot, which brings its domestic total to $347.4m. Even in his third weekend in theaters, the superhero proved mightier than R-rated comedies Neighbors 2 and The Nice Guys, both of which underwhelmed.

Neighbors 2 brought in only $21.8m – less than half of the first film’s $49m opening in 2014. But the film from the director Nick Stoller also cost only $35m to make.

“We’re really proud of Neighbors 2,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “We’re not just out there trying to go to the bank on something. It really is a different take.”

Stars Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron all returned for the sequel which puts a new spin on the “frat next door” idea by having the young family’s new neighbors be a sorority comprised of girls upset about the unequal rules for fraternities and sororities.

The R-rated 70s-set buddy comedy The Nice Guys grossed $11.3m for a fourth-place spot. Warner Bros handled the domestic distribution for the Shane Black-directed film, which stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe and has been very well received by critics.

While the comedy openings might be less than hoped for, both could still provide decent counterprogramming to the spectacle-driven films opening on Memorial Day weekend, when mega productions X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass take over.

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