ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

When Dumb and Dumber To was first announced, there was many an eyeroll in Hollywood.

First, of course, there is the 20 year gap in between films, delayed sequels are often the Kiss of Death in Hollywood.

The only one in recent memory that could be considered even a modest hit would be 300: Rise of an Empire which opened to $45 million and finished with $106.5 million domestically. Which is far from a bomb, but also a far cry from the original 300, which opened to $70 million and finished with $210 million domestically. When inflation is taken into account, 300: Rise of an Empire had far less attendance than it's predecessor.

In other words, the seven year gap had an effect. Likewise, Spy Kids was one of the most popular franchises of the last decade.

The original Spy Kids opened to $26.5 million domestically in 2001 and finished with $112 million.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams came out a scant year late and there was a slight dip, it opened to $16 million but good word-of mouth let it finish with $85.8 million domestically.

Spy Kids 3D: Game Over came out only a year after that, in 2003 and was still a nice hit - with a $33 million opening weekend and it finished with $111 million domestically.

But for some ridiculous reason, there was an EIGHT YEAR gap until we saw the next instalment in the franchise - and it suffered greatly as a result.

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World proved Robert Rodriguez DIDN'T have all the time in the world to make a sequel. Whatever buzz the franchise had was lost during the long wait and it opened with a surprisingly weak $11 million and finished with only $38 million.

Another Rodriguez franchise saw a big delay - and suffered for it.

Sin City was a nice little hit in 2005. It opened to a strong $29 million and finished with $74 million domestically. It had strong word of mouth and even won over critics with it's unique style.

Frank Miller, who had created the property on the comic book page - said Rodriguez and he already had plans for a sequel - and Angelina Jolie was even reported to have been interested at one point.

However, for whatever reason, Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For didn't come out until THIS year, NINE years after the original. It's clear fans moved on - as it grossed a TERRIBLE $6 million it's opening weekend and finished with $13 million domestically.

With ticket-price inflation taken into account, about a third of the people who saw the original Sin City it's opening weekend saw it's sequel during it's entire run.

Yet another example is the Scream franchise. When it the first Scream film hit in 1996, it was a fresh take on the slasher genre and Neve Campbell was red-hot from starring in the TV show Party of Five. It only opened in 1,413 theatres too - about one-third the number of a traditional wide release and opened to only $6 million. But VERY strong word of mouth made it one of the few horror films to have legs and it finished with $103 million domestically.

Scream 2 came out a scant year later, had a great $32 million opening and finished with $101 million domestically.

Scream 3 saw a slight delay, as it came out three years later, in 2000. That small gap, combined with franchise fatigue, didn't hurt it in the short run - it opened to $34 million. However, it wound up being the first entry not to hit the $100 million mark - it finished at $89 million domestically.

Again, for whatever reason, there was an ELEVEN year gap until Scream 4 hit in 2011. Not only had the franchise lost it's lustre, but so had many of it's stars - including Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox.

It opened to a disappointing $18 million and finished with only $38 million domestically.

So a TWENTY YEAR wait for Dumb and Dumber To could prove lethal. However, box-office tracking shows it with a surprisingly strong weekend number of $35 million.

Why? Well, for one thing, many people - including critics - are fond of the characters. As the critic for The New York Post put it: 'So stupid, you'll laugh in spite of yourself.'

There is not only nostalgia for the characters, but also for Carrey doing what he does best. After two bombs last year, Kick-Ass 2 and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, that Carrey is breaking down and finally giving fans what they want is seen by many as a smart move.

Because it's easy to forget, Dumb and Dumber was not only a hilarious movie in it's own right back in 1994, it capped a year unlike any that any other comedian had ever had - 1994 had the man whose films up to that point had been Once Bitten and Earth Girls Are Easy and who had been mainly known as The White Guy On 'In Living Colour' explode on the scene with Ace Ventura $72 million domestic gross, $140 million in today's dollars); The Mask ($119 million domestic gross, $232 million adjusted for inflation) and finally, Dumb and Dumber, ($127 million domestic gross, $241 million adjusted for inflation).

Can you imagine, say, Seth Rogen, with three films over $140 million and TWO films over $230 million domestically in ONE YEAR?

Carrey's fans will be reminded by Dumb and Dumber To of a time when, without question, he was considered the funniest actor alive.

If Dumb and Dumber To breaks $100 million domestically, it will be Carrey's first live-action film to hit that mark since Fun With Dick and Jane in 2005.

Which, if it's funny, it should easily do. Think about it, if half the people show up to this film as they did it's predecessor, it will generate $120 million domestically.

Which the 2014 box-office really needs. With it a bit unrealistic to expect The Hunger Games Mockingjay - Part 1 to improve on the $424 million domestic take surrounding it's predecessor and questions surrounding films ranging from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Into the Woods, Penguins of Madagascar, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Unbroken, Horrible Bosses 2, Annie and The Interview, it is up to Dumb and Dumber To - and Interstellar and Big Hero 6 - to exceed expectations of there is to be ANY shot for the 2014 box-office to surpass the box-office of 2013.

Especially since those three films get to play the longest without any direct competition.

Me? I think fans will be thrilled to see "funny Carrey" back after too long an absence.

This isn't another The Majestic or The Number 23. Fans know from the get-go this is a movie that will likely make them laugh.

Which I think quite a few fans will find more appealing than huge battles and special effects. We'll see.


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