Disney's "Big Hero 6" will fight to keep its top spot at the box office this weekend as the sequel to "Dumb and Dumber" makes its debut.
"Big Hero 6" has a slight edge over "Dumb and Dumber To," according to people who have seen prerelease audience surveys. The animated film is on track to gross up to $38 million in its sophomore weekend, exceeding the $35-million projection for "Dumb and Dumber To."
Christopher Nolan's space drama "Interstellar" will probably round out the top three and add $30 million to its roughly $61.8-million gross. Meanwhile, romance drama "Beyond The Lights" will probably open to $10 million.
"Dumb and Dumber To," which comes 20 years after the original was released, once again follows dimwitted friends Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) as they go on a road trip to find Harry's long-lost daughter. The film cost about $40 million to make.
The original "Dumb and Dumber," which grossed $247 milion worldwide, made the brother directing team of Bobby and Peter Farrelly into a powerful comedic brand. The film, which cost just $16 million to make, held the top spot at the box office for four weeks.
"We didn't want this to be 'Dumb and Dumber Lite,'" Peter Farrelly told the Los Angeles Times last month. "We wanted it to be as good as the first movie. Our goal is that after you see both movies and a couple of years have passed, they will blur together."
Universal Pictures, which is releasing the film, hopes it will debut to about $30 million.
However, promoting a sequel with such a large gap between the first and second installments is not an easy feat. Though the original film became a cult classic, "Dumb and Dumber To" will have to rely on nostalgia to lure moviegoers.
To help market the film, Universal released a teaser trailer on popular app Snapchat. The studio used a similar tactic to attract younger audiences for the opening of "Ouija" in October.
According to Fandango, the nation's largest online movie ticket company, the sequel is the most anticipated film of the weekend with a score of 86.
Of the more than 1,000 people Fandango surveyed, 86% said they have been looking forward to a sequel ever since the first film.
The Farrelly brothers had huge box office success in the 1990s with films such as "There's Something About Mary" and "Kingpin."
The duo's last release was "The Three Stooges" in 2012. The film opened to a decent $17.1 million but ultimately pulled in just $44.3 million in the U.S. and Canada.
Before that, none of their last four films, including 2003's "Stuck on You" and 2011's "Hall Pass," opened with over $15 million or ultimately exceeded $45 million.
Disney's "Big Hero 6," which cost about $165 million to make, has won over critics and moviegoers.
The film earned an A grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore and 88% "fresh" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Directed by Disney veterans Don Hall ("Winnie the Pooh") and Chris Williams ("Bolt"), the CG-animated film follows a rebellious robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) and a guileless healthcare robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit). It is a loose adaptation of a little-known Marvel comic book.
Though "Interstellar" came in second to "Big Hero 6" last week, it will probably stay steady at No. 3. The space drama earned a B+ grade from CinemaScore and a 74% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The roughly three-hour film follows Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), an engineer and pilot who has been called upon to find a hospitable new planet because Earth is turning into a giant dust bowl. Cofinanced by Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros., the science drama cost about $165 million to make.
"Beyond the Lights" is the first film to be released under Relativity Studios' newly formed multicultural division under producer Matt Alvarez ("Barbershop" and "Ride Along"). It is a production by Relativity, Undisputed Cinema and Homegrown Pictures in association with BET Films.
The film, which cost a mere $7 million to make, is being released in just 1,750 theaters. Directed by Gina Price-Bythewood, the film follows the life of a music superstar Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and her relationship with a young cop, Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker). It also stars Minnie Driver and Danny Glover
In limited release, Jon Stewart's film "Rosewater" will open on 351 screens. The movie, distributed by Open Road Films, is an adaptation of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari's memoir about his imprisonment.
"Foxcatcher," distributed by Sony Classics, will also open in limited release on six screens in New York and Los Angeles. The wrestling drama stars Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum.