Final Update, Sunday 10 AM: Star power actually worked at the box office this weekend. For weeks, we’ve seen stars who couldn’t open films with their names: Johnny Depp, Liam Neeson and Vince Vaughn. The films failed for an array of reasons from mismatched genres to fatigued formulas. But this weekend, it was clear – star power can still drive a film’s success.

rihannaWhile we can’t see the stars onscreen in DreamWorks Animation’s Home (distributed by 20th Century Fox), the prolific and powerhouse voiceover talents of Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons got in front of the film and engaged in a multi-pronged marketing campaign that targeted Hispanic and African-American demos along with the masses through an American Idol performance by Lopez of the song “Feel the Light,” and Millennials with a massive social-media outreach program.

In addition, Rihanna, who has continually contended with a bad-girl image, put on her good-girl side, helping out at a North Texas food bank as part of the film’s cross-promotional efforts. The food bank’s owner won the Good Morning America contest called “Home Comes to Your Home,” in which the film premiered in her Plano, TX hometown. Rihanna also took her niece to the Hollywood premiere.

Weekend Box Office: 'Home' Beating 'Get Hard'“When a movie clicks, there’s a confluence of events,” said Chris Aronson, the 20th Century Fox distrib chief, about Home‘s awesome $54M opening this weekend.

Coming out of a red-ink-splattered 2014, DWA couldn’t hope for a better opening for its sole 2015 feature release.  Home‘s bow marks the highest for any DWA title since Fox began handling its distribution. The number beat out the FSS of last summer’s hit How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($49.45M). The previous high bow for a DWA title was June 2012’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted ($60.3M). Among DWA non-sequel openers at the B.O., Home ranks third behind Kung-Fu Panda ($60.2M) and Monsters vs. Aliens ($59.3M).

“There were several linchpins that made Home work,” said Aronson. “There was a stellar voice cast who believed in the film and worked it professionally. (Fox president of domestic theatrical marketing) Marc Weinstock’s campaign was a factor and I want to give him a shout out. Also speaking volumes to how this film turned out are new DreamWorks Animation co-heads Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. Home is a cross-cultural phenomenon.”

The pic drew an audience that was 48% Caucasian, 22% African American,  15% Hispanic and 15% Asian.  Home‘s future build-out looks great, earning 5 out of 5 stars with parents and kids as well as an A CinemaScore. The next animated film isn’t until June 19 when Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out opens. Home drew a mostly young female crowd with 60% women and 57% under 25.  Pic made $21.9M yesterday, a 39% hike over its opening day of $15.7M.

will ferrell kevin hartAt No. 2, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart’s star power made Get Hard their highest R-rated opening of their careers with $34.6M at 3,175 venues and a per theater of $10,901.

“The chemistry between these guys is fantastic,” said Warner Bros. distrib chief Dan Fellman, who asserted that despite the brand-driven properties that have excelled lately (i.e. Fifty Shades of Grey, Insurgent), “stars are still important. When opening a movie such as Get Hard, you want to have that box-office power attached.”

In generating buzz for their buddy comedy, Ferrell and Hart jointly appeared on late-night TV and during the film’s SXSW launch. The duo also released several clips on Ferrell’s Funny or Die humor site. In sum, Get Hard’s recipe for success was putting Ferrell and Hart in their bawdy-comedy wheelhouse, one-upping their previous set-ups with a high concept about a non-ex con who teaches a rich guy how to man up when he gets sentenced to prison.

The math is also good on Get Hard. Its opening reps 87% of its $40M production cost. While auds gave it a B CinemaScore, guys under 18 loved it with an A-. Older guys made up Get Hard‘s crowd with 54% males and 61% over 25. Saturday saw a 2% uptick for Get Hard with $13.1M over its opening day of $12.9M.

RADiUS-TWC and Dimension Films is so elated with the $4M result of its wide expansion for It Follows that they are planning to stretch the teen-horror pic to more theaters next weekend. Total cume through three weekends stands at $4.76M. After the film debuted at Cannes last May, RADiUS continued to generate buzz among genre fans at Toronto Midnight Madness, Fantastic Fest and The Sundance Film Festival. Star Maika Monroe, armed with more than 12,000 Twitter followers, is also seeing her profile rise from the film’s success. She’s been able to drive more exposure for the film in such outlets as Hollywood Life, People and Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live.

Most of the weekend estimates for the top films were off from industry projections, but not by much. Still a great weekend. And that’s not a line – we’re in weekend No. 13 (one-quarter of the way through 2015) and sources tell me it’s the best frame 13 of all-time with an estimated $152M per Rentrak, beating 2012’s record of $148.9M. This weekend was also 8% ahead of last year’s frame and 16% ahead of last weekend’s total haul of $131.1M. 2015 currently totals $2.45B, 4% ahead of the same January-March frame in 2014.

“You keep reading in the newspapers how the ratings for NCAA March Madness are the highest of all-time,” Warner’s Fellman said. “In the past, the consensus (from the industry) has been that you don’t open a film against March Madness. However, this weekend just shows you when people want to see something, they go. The movie rises to the occasion.”

Lionsgate’s Divergent sequel Insurgent is still expected to settle in third with $22.08M, off 58% from its opening weekend for a 10-day cume of $86.4M. Disney’s Cinderella flew past the $300M worldwide mark in its third sesh with $150M stateside and a FSS of $17.5M, off 50% from a week ago.

Below are the top 10 films per studio-reported estimates for March 27-29, 2015

1). Home (FOX/DW), 3,708 theaters  / $15.7M* Fri. / Sat. $21.8M (+39%)/ Sun. $16.4M (-25%)3-Day: $54M / Wk 1

2). Get Hard (WB), 3,175 theaters  / $12.9M* Fri. /Sat. $13.1M (+2%)/ Sun. $8.5M (-35%) / 3-Day: $34.6M / Wk 1

3). Insurgent (LG), 3,875 theaters (0)  / $6.86M Fri. /Sat. $9.5M (+28%)/ Sun. $5.7M (-40%) / 3-Day: $22M (-58%) /Total Cume: $86.3M /Wk 2

4). Cinderella (DIS), 3,815 theaters (-33) / $4.7M Fri. /Sat. $7.4M (+57%)/ Sun. $5.3M (-28%)/ 3-Day: $17.5M  (-50%)/Total Cume: $150M/Wk 3

5). It Follows (RAD), 1,218 theaters (+1,186) /Fri. $1.4M /Sat. $1.49M (+49%)/ Sun. $1.1M (-25%)/3-Day: $4M (+1,066%)/Total cume: $4.7M/Wk 3

6). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 1,785 theaters (-438) / $840K Fri. /Sat. $1.37M (+63%)/ Sun. $840K (-39%)/ 3-Day: $3.05M (-34%)/ Total Cume: $119.4M/ Wk 7

7).  Run All Night (WB), 2,377 theaters (-794)  / $645K Fri. /Sat. $975 (+51%)/ Sun. $585K (-40%)/ 3-Day: $2.2M (-56%)/Total Cume: $23.8M/Wk 3

8.) The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (FSL), 1,498 theaters (-518)/ $625K Fri. /Sat. $930K (+49%)/ Sun. $630K (-32%)/ 3-Day: $2.185M (-38%)/Total Cume: $28.1M/Wk 4

9). Do You Believe? (PF), 1,356 theaters (+36) / $665K Fri. /Sat. $895K (+27%)/ Sun. $590K (-34%)/ 3-Day: $2.15M (-40%)/Total Cume: $7M / Wk 2

10).  The Gunman (OR), 2,816 theaters (0) / $600K Fri. /Sat. $876K (+46%)/ Sun. $569K (-35%)/ 3-Day: $2M (-59%) /Total Cume: $8.8M /Wk 2

*includes Thursday night previews

Notables:

While We’re Young (A24), 4 theaters  / $65K Fri. / Sat. $103K (+59%)/ Sun. $77K (-25%)/ 3-Day PSA: $61K / 3-Day: $245K / Wk 1

Serena (MGA), 60 theaters  / $31K Fri. / Sat. $42K (+35%)/ Sun. $27K (-35%)/ 3-Day: $100K / Wk 1

The Salt Of The Earth (SPC), 4 theaters  / $11K Fri. / Sat. $18K (+61%)/ Sun. $13K (-30%)/ 3-Day PSA: $11K/ 3-Day: $43K / Wk 1

Ride The Thunder (IND), 1 theaters  / $7K Fri. / Sat. $9K (+26%)/ Sun. $6K (-30%)/  3-Day: $23K / Wk 1

How To Fight In Six Inc (IND), 6 theaters  / $9K Fri. / Sat. $6K (+37%)/ Sun. $4K (-40%)/ 3-Day: $18K / Wk 1

Previous, Saturday 9AM after 3:30AM post: Studio-reported Friday figures included. DreamWorks Animation has of late been a field of gloom and doom. The studio posted close to $300M in losses last year from pics that failed to perform. The Glendale, California campus was sold and 500 people were given their walking papers. However, this weekend is looking a little brighter for DWA as its sole 2015 feature toon Home, via 20th Century Fox, is leading the charge at the box office with an estimated $15M Friday and a $52.7M weekend. As of this morning at 8:30AM, there’s even better news: Fox is reporting $15.6M for Home with the revised industry weekend estimate being $55.5M.

If those figures hold, Home would mark the best opening for a DWA title since June 2012’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted ($60.3M), even inching out the bow of last summer’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($49.45M), which wound up in the black with a profit of $107.34M (global B.O. $618.9M, production cost $145M). Home carries a reported lower budget than HTTYD2 with $130M.

Weekend Box Office: 'Home' Beating 'Get Hard'Spring break looks to be sharing the good vibrations with Warner Bros.’ Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart R-rated comedy Get Hard, which showed signs of hitting its weekend projections with a solid $12M Friday estimate and a FSS of $33M in second per midnight grosses. Like Home, Get Hard is waking up to more sunshine with a $12.9M reported figure from Warner Bros, and a revised industry weekend of $36.3M.  That stateside bow reps 91% of Get Hard‘s reported $40M production cost.

This weekend’s top 10 films are looking to total $148.5M, repping a 27% uptick from last weekend’s top 10 tally of $117.3M (all films last weekend per Rentrak came in at $130.8M).

Home’s CinemaScore was an A, which is largely in line with the grades for DWA fare throughout 2014. Those scores translated into hefty box office multiples: HTTYD2 (A) had a final domestic cume of $177M that was 3.6x its bow, Mr. Peabody & Sherman (A) posted a stateside total of $111.5M that was 3.5x its $32.2M opening, while Penguins of Madagascar (A-) generated 3.3x its $25.4M FSS with a stateside cume of $83.2M.

Weekend Box Office: 'Home' Beating 'Get Hard'Two of the linchpins in Home’s marketing have been pop stars Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez, who  voice the daughter and mother, respectively, separated from each other as aliens invade earth. Social media monitor RelishMix praises Rihanna’s outreach to her 82.7M Facebook and 42.6M Twitter followers with trailers, teasers, selfies and mini-posters along with Lopez’s promotions to her 43M FB, 31.4M TW and cross placement on her Vevo Channel. Further propelling Home before a mass audience: Lopez performed the pic’s song “Feel the Light” on American Idol.

Weekend Box Office: 'Home' Beating 'Get Hard'Other highlights from 20th Century Fox and DWA’s Home’s campaign included a two-week long “Home Comes to Your Home” contest on Good Morning America. This led to stars Rihanna, Jim Parsons and Steve Martin announcing the winner (Cheryl “Action” Jackson, founder of Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano) live in studio, with Rihanna and Parsons traveling to Plano, Texas to stage the world premiere of Home in Cheryl’s honor. They also worked in her food bank. Hispanic and urban demos were targeted with Parsons participating in a Miami press day and national morning shows. He also appeared in a viral music video from Home targeted at Hispanic auds, “Boovete, Muevete,” in which he shows off his dance moves. In addition there were word-of-mouth screenings in the Top 50 markets, targeting Girl Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other school groups.

Get Hard’s Friday is running 72% ahead of The Wedding Ringer’s first day ($6.99M), Hart’s last comedy, which opened over MLK weekend. Get Hard is also 38% ahead of the first Friday of Ferrell’s previous comedy, 2013’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues ($8.7M). Should weekend projections stick for Get Hard it will nearly match the opening of Ferrell’s previous wide March comedy, 2007’s Blades of Glory ($33M, final domestic $118.6M). CinemaScore for Get Hard was a B, which is typical for most of Ferrell’s laffers, including Blades of Glory, Talladega Nights and Anchorman 2, but lower for Hart, who earned an A- for The Wedding Ringer ($20.6M opening, $64.2M domestic B.O.) and an A for Ride Along ($41.5M opening, $134.9M domestic). While bawdy comedies at the B.O. are typically critic proof, some of Ferrell’s best (Talladega Nights, The Other Guys, Anchorman 2) have synched their fresh Tomatometer ratings with solid openings. In the case of Get Hard, its estimated opening is actually besting its sour reviews (33% rotten).

Weekend Box Office: 'Home' Beating 'Get Hard'The core of Warner Bros.’ media campaign for Get Hard has been Ferrell and Hart’s joint appearances during most of their promo stops. The duo appeared on The Tonight Show’s post-Super Bowl special, where they competed in a viral lip-sync and recently shared the couch on The Late Late Show With James Corden. During SXSW, they worked with Ferrell’s Funny or Die in making such vids as “Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart’s Failed Audition Tapes” and “Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart Hit the Streets at SXSW.” The duo created unique custom social content, ranging from Instagram videos and Facebook/Twitter Fan Q&As to custom Spotify playlists and GIF Interviews.  Social media monitor RelishMix observes Hart working O.T. to promote Get Hard to his 18.1M FB, 17.8M TW, as well as Ferrell with his 10.1M FB. Get Hard’s marketing was also topped off by cross-network partnerships with Comedy Central, MTV, Spike, VH-1, ESPN and BET as well as targeted outdoor and in-arena billboards in key markets.

Weekend Box Office: 'Home' Beating 'Get Hard'Disney is reporting Cinderella with a $4.73M third Friday in fourth, slightly higher than industry projections last night. The frame’s third wide opener RADiUS-TWC and Dimension Films’ It Follows which expanded from 32 theaters to 1,218. Saturday AM figures are $1.4M for Friday, a $100K higher than midnight’s industry take of $1.3M Friday.  It Follows‘ third weekend should come in just $4M with a total cume by Sunday at $4.7M. Last weekend’s No. 1 champ Insurgent from Lionsgate posted a lower Saturday figure of $6.85M than the $7.19M Friday that the industry was guessing. Revised weekend is looking at $23M, which is where the distrib was expecting it to be, down 56% from its opening. Total cume for Insurgent by Sunday should be at $87.3M.

Last weekend’s other wide entries were tough enough to stick around in the top 10 with Pure Flix’s Christian drama Do You Believe? on course for a $703K Friday (-42%) and a $2.5M weekend per industry estimates last night. Sean Penn’s dramatic actioner The Gunman earning an estimated $655K (-63%) and a FSS of $2.27M (-55%) in tenth.

Below are the top 10 films per industry estimates for Friday and the weekend of March 27-29 as of 3AM:

insurgent 121). Home (FOX/DW), 3,708 theaters  / $15M* Fri. / 3-Day: $52.7M / Wk 1

2). Get Hard (WB), 3,175 theaters  / $12M* Fri. / 3-Day: $33M / Wk 1

3). Insurgent (LG), 3,875 theaters (0)  / $7.19M Fri. (-66%) / 3-Day: $23.29M (-55%) /Total Cume: $88.1M / Wk 2

4). Cinderella (DIS), 3,815 theaters (-33) / $4.69M Fri. (-50%) / 3-Day: $17.8M  (-49%)/Total Cume: $150.2M/Wk 3

5). It Follows (RAD), 1,218 theaters (+1,186) / $1.3M Fri. (+1,199%) /3-Day: $3.59M (+943%)/Total cume: $4.2M/Wk 3

6). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 1,785 theaters (-438) / $869K Fri. (-32%)/ 3-Day: $3.19M (-31%)/ Total Cume: $119.39M/ Wk 7

7). Do You Believe? (PF), 1,356 theaters (+36) / $703K Fri. (-42%)/ 3-Day: $2.5M (-30%)/Total Cume: $7.4M / Wk 2

8). The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (FSL), 1,498 theaters (-518)/ $634K Fri. (-34%)/ 3-Day: $2.3M (-34%)/Total Cume: $28.25M/Wk 4

9).  Run All Night (WB), 2,377 theaters (-794)  / $647K Fri. (-54%)/ 3-Day: $2.3M (-54%)/Total Cume: $23.9M/Wk 3

10).  The Gunman (OR), 2,816 theaters (0) / $655K Fri. (-63%)/ 3-Day: $2.27M (-55%) /Total Cume: $9M /Wk 2

*includes Thursday night previews

Notables:

While We’re Young (A24), 4 theaters  / $60K Fri. / 3-Day PSA: $48K / 3-Day: $191K / Wk 1

Serena (MAG), 60 theaters  / $38K Fri. / 3-Day: $126K / Wk 1

The Salt Of The Earth (SPC), 4 theaters  / $10K Fri. /3-Day PSA: $8K/ 3-Day: $33K / Wk 1

Ride The Thunder (IND), 1 theater  / $7K Fri. / 3-Day: $20K / Wk 1

Previous Friday 1:30 PM: Friday afternoon estimates show DreamWorks Animation’s heartfelt alien story Home from 20th Century Fox ranking No. 1 on Friday with $12.5M and the weekend with $44M-$45M. Warner Bros.’ R-rated Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard isn’t too far behind with a Friday haul of $11.75M, however its FSS is expected to come in at $33.5M.

Weekend Box Office: 'Home' Leading Over 'Get Hard'With 15% of K-12 schools out today, matinees are fueling Home‘s till, which is in play at 3,708 theaters with a further boost from 3D. There is the possibility that Get Hard in 3,175 venues could take the charge with adults this evening. Get Hard grossed $1.8M in Thursday previews, while Home made $650K. Those figures are rolled into today’s B.O.

Lionsgate’s Insurgent looks to have a lock on third with $7.5M for Friday and FSS of $24.5M at 3,875 screens, 53% off its opening weekend with a 10-day cume by Sunday of $88.8M. That percent drop is right on with Divergent‘s second-frame decline; however, the sequel’s domestic cume would ultimately be lagging behind the first installment by 6% at the same point in time. For the week, Insurgent grossed $64.3M.

Disney’s Cinderella is projected to rank fourth with $5.7M Friday and a third weekend of $18.9M, down 46%, in 3,815 theaters. Cume through Sunday is aiming to be at $151.4M.

Currently, Radius-TWC and Dimension Films’ It Follows is eyeing fifth for both Friday and the weekend respectively with $1.9M and $5M at 1,218 theaters. The horror pic’s cume through its third session is projected to arrive at $5.8M.