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'Neighbors' starts with $2.56 million; can it throttle Spidey?

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A couple of comedies and a return to a magical land will attempt to knock down "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" from the top of the box office.

"Neighbors" and "Mom's Night Out" take on different demographics but both go for the laughs. "The Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" tries a different approach to a very, very familiar tale. The first comedy goes for the male crowd (or even a date night one), while the latter goes for the female crowd, which has "The Other Woman" out there, too.

"Neighbors" took in $2.56 million, and it is a comedy. There is not that sense of urgency to get out and see it on the first day. A weekend with good word-of-mouth can set this one on fire. There seems to be that urgency wit h"Anchorman 2," but not really. The hype machine behind it made it that way.

Seth Rogan, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne, stir up the neighborhood in "Neighbors." A college fraternity movies into a quiet neighborhood is a case of bad zoning, but will set up some ideal comedy circumstances.

If a comedy works, then it works. Escapism and what makes someone laugh does matter. It is not an easy task to pull off. The cast will help "Neighbors." Rogan has a fine track record but, too many obvious plot points set up the laughter. But again, it doesn't matter if those acting it out have fun, seem sincere, and deliver. Whether it works or not is up to the audience, not this report.

But, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is still flying high as the week went on and will be hard to beat. Looking at the theater counts as well means it will take a fantastic outing for "Neighbors" to overcome Spidey. It can be done, but will it, honestly? Yes, it can and just may do that. Rogan's track record will be the key.

The other wide release comedy is "Mom's Night Out." It will not compete. Sarah Drew, Patricia Heaton, Trace Adkins and Sean Astin star. Moms need a night out but that means the husbands need to take care of the kids. Enough said.

"Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" is the odd film out, perhaps. Is it a sleeper, a family film that will hit home with that crowd, or will it be ignored? The timing may be off for this but Mother's Day is Sunday, so, let's see. It is a 3D animated musical, but "Frozen" is still fresh on the minds of many.

Again, the timing may be wrong here. Lea Michele is Dorothy Gale; Jim Belushi is the Cowardly Lion; Dan Aykroyd is the Scarecrow and Kelsey Grammer is the Tin Man. When all is said and done here, the tale will be lost potential. Oliver Platt is Wiser the Owl.


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