- Baby Mama movie box office: Directed by newcomer Michael McCullers, the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler comedy has turned out to be the year’s first de facto woman-centered title to reach the no. 1 spot on the U.S. and Canada chart. The lowbrow, male-centered comedy Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay was no. 2.
Baby Mama movie box office: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler comedy catapults women to the top of the (anemic) domestic chart
April 25–27 weekend box office: Starring Saturday Night Live alums Tina Fey (also of 30 Rock) and Amy Poehler, the Universal comedy Baby Mama was the no. 1 movie at the wobbly North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office, grossing a no-more-than-acceptable $17.4 million from 2,543 theaters according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
Unless one considers the B horror flick Prom Night a “woman-centered” picture – Brittany Snow is the prom-goer most likely to become a target of the local psychopath-on-the-loose – Baby Mama happens to be the first female-led release to top the domestic chart so far this year.
Directed by first-timer Michael McCullers – a movie and television writer whose credits include Saturday Night Live sketches and the features Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Thunderbirds – Baby Mama revolves around a businesswoman (Tina Fey) who, realizing she’ll have lots of trouble getting pregnant (and perhaps suffering from some undiagnosed mental illness), hires a juvenile Philadelphian (Amy Poehler) as her surrogate.
Also in the Baby Mama movie cast: Dax Shepard, Maura Tierney, Holland Taylor, Steve Martin, and Oscar nominees Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, 1997) and Sigourney Weaver (Aliens, 1986; etc.). Budget: A relatively modest $30 million.
Baby Mama flops internationally
Update: The Tina Fey-Amy Poehler comedy Baby Mama ultimately collected a borderline decent $60.5 million domestically and $3.9 million (in all fairness, this ridiculously low figure is incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $64.4 million.
Even while taking into account the incomplete overseas gross, it’s unlikely this comedy featuring no international stars managed to recover its total cost at the box office alone.
Baby Mama’s top international markets were a couple of English-speaking territories: Australia ($2.2 million) and the United Kingdom/Ireland ($765,000).
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay has so-so debut
Trailing Baby Mama this past weekend, Warner Bros.’ unenthusiastically received comedy Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay debuted with a mediocre $14.9 million from 2,510 locations.
The good news: Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, and featuring John Cho and Kal Penn as two stoners mistaken for terrorists (they’re not white), the sequel almost tripled the opening-weekend take of its predecessor, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,* which raked in an estimated $5.2 million from 2,135 sites in 2004. As a plus, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay reportedly cost only $12 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).
The bad news: Sequels tend to be front-loaded, i.e., they earn a higher-than-usual percentage of their gross on the first weekend; in other words, expect sharp drop-off rates in the weekends to come. As a further minus, don’t expect this latest Harold & Kumar thingie to be aided and abetted by the international market. (The first Harold & Kumar drew in a measly $5.7 million overseas.)
* Danny Leiner directed Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle from a screenplay by Hurwitz and Schlossberg.
Harold & Kumar vs. Baby Mama
Update: In relation to its cost, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay actually fared better than Baby Mama in the domestic market: $38.1 million.
Internationally, things were about as bad as expected; if figures are complete, the sequel raked in even less than the original: A paltry $5.4 million, for a worldwide total of $43.5 million.
Its top overseas markets were the same as Baby Mama’s, but in reverse order: The United Kingdom/Ireland ($1.4 million) and Australia ($1.3 million).
Hugh Jackman-Ewan McGregor sex & murder drama bombs
Lastly, 20th Century Fox’s new entry Deception landed at no. 10 on the April 25–27 box office chart.
Despite the presence of Hugh Jackman as a studly New York City lawyer and underground sex club member, Ewan McGregor as an unassertive corporate auditor who becomes enmeshed in that milieu, and Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, 2005) as a mysterious sex worker/subway rider, Marcel Langenegger’s sex-and-murder drama brought in a dismal $2.3 million from 2,001 venues.
Also in the Deception cast: Lisa Gay Hamilton, Maggie Q, Lynn Cohen, and veteran Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter, The Verdict).
Deception is a global flop
Update: The Hugh Jackman-Ewan McGregor crime drama Deception ended its domestic run with a meager $4.6 million. It fared bared internationally, though a reported cume of $13.2 million was hardly an impressive one. Worldwide total: $17.8 million.
Deception’s top overseas markets were Spain ($2.6 million), Russia/CIS ($2 million), Australia ($1.4 million), France ($1.3 million), and the United Kingdom/Ireland ($1 million).
“Baby Mama Movie Box Office: Tina Fey + Amy Poehler Comedy” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “Baby Mama Movie Box Office: Tina Fey + Amy Poehler Comedy Is Year’s First Female-Led Chart-Topper” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Baby Mama, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Deception, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Baby Mama movie image: Universal Pictures.
John Cho and Kal Penn Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay image: Warner Bros.
“Baby Mama Movie Box Office: Tina Fey + Amy Poehler Comedy Is Year’s First Female-Led Chart-Topper” last updated in October 2022.