Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote the earlier "Bourne" films, shows that he can handle more than adult-oriented dramas like “Michael Clayton" and the underperforming "Duplicity." The weekend total for "Legacy" comes in just below the total domestic gross for both of those earlier films.
What comes next: The movie needs to hold well and show overseas strength to justify another sequel. Heading into a post-Olympics environment, the movie could surpass $100 million in the US/Canada, then more than double that elsewhere if it follows normal patterns. Its B Cinemascore suggests that word of mouth is not universally strong, however.
2. THE CAMPAIGN (Warner Brothers) – NEW (Cinemascore: B-; Metacritic score: 50)
$27,440,000 in 3,205 theaters; PSA: $8,562,000; Cumulative: $27,440,000
The stronger than expected opening numbers for “The Campaign” take some edge off “The Dark Knight Rises” falling to third place this weekend for Warners. Not a low-budget comedy by any means (estimated budget was over $50 million), this gross suggests a chance for success.
Political comedies are a tough sell, even more so when they aren’t backed with strong reviews (“Dave,” “Bulworth,” ” The American President”). This film's kickstart comes from the pairing of Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis as leads together for the first time. Ferrell has been uneven throughout his career (as well as taking regular chances in smaller films, such as the recent “Casa de mi Padre”). This is performing slightly better than his two most recent $100 million-plus domestic grossers (“The Other Guys” and “Step Brothers” – he seems to score a comedy hit only in even-numbered years). For Galifianakis, who was elevated by his “Hangover” film appearances, these numbers are similar to the opening of his other second-lead comedy success, “Due Date.”
The film marks a step up for director Jay Roach from his most recent feature film “Dinner for Schmucks,” which even with Steve Carrell managed a just OK $23.5 million opening two years ago. It will perform below his huge successes with the “Austin Powers” and “Meet the Parents” franchises. Still, it shows how a veteran comedy director can upgrade a seemingly routine comedy pairing.
Ferrell, as well as his frequent past director Adam McKay joined Roach and Galifianakis as the producers of the film.
What comes next: They got the audience sampling they wanted. Now, without a significant new comedy next weekend and less TV competition, good word of mouth could propel this much further. At the least, all involved will stay in great demand.