By breaking out the bowl cut and chipped front tooth, the funnyman has rediscovered his box office mojo. "Dumb and Dumber To," which revives Carrey and co-star Jeff Daniels' IQ-challenged characters from the 1994 smash, is poised to be the weekend's number one film, and is expected to pick up $32 million in 3,152 locations.
That will be Carrey's biggest opening since 2003's "Bruce Almighty" bowed to $67.3 million, and the first of his films to top $30 million in its debut since 2009's "A Christmas Carol." The film's success could snap a cold spell for the comedian, who has struggled at the box office in recent years but was the most popular comedian of the 1990s and early aughts.
Universal Pictures is distributing the $40 million production, which was backed by Red Granite Pictures and also brings back "Dumb and Dumber" directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly. The studio is being conservative with its estimates and saying it would be happy with an opening in the range of $30 million.
"The enthusiasm that 'Dumb and Dumber To' is generating is really impressive," said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst for BoxOffice.com. "Facebook growth in particular has been staggering over the last couple of months. This movie is going to bring people who are hard to separate from their couches into theaters."
Universal will distribute "Dumb and Dumber To" day-and-date with the U.S. in Germany, German-speaking Switzerland, Austria and Spain.
The weekend's other new wide-release, Relativity Media's "Beyond the Lights," will debut in approximately 1750 theaters, and should pick up $8 million to $10 million. The story of music superstar who falls in love with a young cop assigned to protect her is the first film to be released under the company's new multicultural division. "Barbershop" and "Ride Along" producer Matt Alvarez is running the division with the goal of tapping into the ticket-buying power of African American and Latino moviegoers. "Beyond the Lights" cost $7 million to produce.
Despite "Dumb and Dumber To's" powerful dose of comedic nostalgia, last weekend's two heavyweights, "Big Hero 6" and "Interstellar," aren't going away. Look for "Big Hero 6" to take advantage of the lack of family titles by securing second place on the charts with $30 million.
Although "Interstellar" did less business than originally projected when it debuted last weekend to $47.5 million, it has performed well during its weekday showings. That indicates that there's still interest in the Christopher Nolan space adventure, and the film should benefit from pent-up demand for its Imax screenings. It holds on to Imax screens until "The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies" debuts on Dec. 17. That wide screen presence will help "Interstellar" pull in $22 million in its sophomore weekend.
The army of indies marching towards movie houses is a sure sign that Oscar season is in full swing. Among the buzzier titles, Sony Pictures Classics will offer up true-life murder tale "Foxcatcher" in 6 theaters in New York and Los Angeles, while expanding music drama "Whiplash" from 88 theaters to 416.
Meanwhile Roadside Attractions will roll out Tommy Lee Jones' western "Homesman" in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, while Open Road will aim bigger, pushing Jon Stewart's "Rosewater," the story of a journalist imprisoned in Iran, into 351 theaters for its debut.
"Birdman," the edgy showbiz satire will continue to break out beyond the arthouse. The Fox Searchlight release will move from 460 to 862 theaters, and has already picked up an impressive $8.3 million after a month in release. Being dumb isn't the only way to draw the comedy crowd.
Dumb and Dumber To is scheduled to be released in Australia on January 8.