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'Neighbors' Box Office Smash: Raunchy Bro Comedy Overtakes 'Spider-Man'

Image: 'Neighbors' Box Office Smash: Raunchy Bro Comedy Overtakes 'Spider-Man' Actor Zac Efron attends Universal Pictures' 'Neighbors' premiere at Regency Village Theatrein Westwood, California.

By Clyde Hughes   |   Monday, 12 May 2014 10:26 AM

"Neighbors," an R-rated "bro" comedy starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, beat out superhero flick "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" at the box office over the weekend, raking in an impressive $51 million.

According to estimated ticket sales compiled by Rentrak, The Associated Press reported that "Neighbors'" big box office debut bested the $37.2 million taken in by "Spider-Man 2," which premiered a week earlier. "The Other Woman" ranked third with $9.25 million in ticket sales followed by "Heaven Is for Real" with $7 million and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" with $5.6 million.

Deadline.com's Anita Busch credited Universal exec Nikki Rocco and the studio's "incredible team" for "Neighbors'" fast start and surprising No. 1 weekend finish.

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"The studio has a helluva production, marketing, and distribution team led by the very well-respected Rocco," Busch wrote for Deadline. "And the movie delivers. 'Neighbors'' Friday numbers trounced 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' in its sophomore weekend as the Sony/Marvel franchise is looking to gross on the bottom end of the estimate $36.1M to $36.4M all in for a 6 percent drop."

"Neighbors," directed by Nicholas Stoller, stars Rogen and Rose Byrne ("Bridesmaids") as a couple with a toddler trying to survive living next door to a college fraternity house headed by Efron, Entertainment Weekly reported.

"Speaking in her native Aussie twang, Byrne shows that she's a deadpan comic ace," the magazine noted. "And thanks to her chemistry with Rogen, 'Neighbors' proves that just because you grow up doesn't mean you have to be a grown-up. [The movie] is a frat-house flick with more on its mind than beer, bongs, and beer bongs. It's also a razor-sharp commentary on desperately trying to remain carefree after the burdens of adulthood have taken over."

That message seemed to register with the international audience as well. The AP reported that "Neighbors" hauled in another $34.4 million in overseas ticket sales.

The New York Times film critic A.O. Scott noted that the movie succeeds because it constantly balances sincere moments with brawly gags.

"I don't want to create the wrong impression. The insightful glimmers matter to the film's credibility, but they also provide a scaffolding of sincerity for the abundant drug-, sex-, and body-based humor," Scott wrote. "The best gags involve human lactation and automobile air bags (not at the same time). Nobody really gets hurt."

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