04/21/2018 Box Office: 'Super Troopers 2' Tops Friday With Shocking $8M Friday

Box Office: 'Super Troopers 2' Tops Friday With Shocking $8M Friday
By Scott Mendelson / Forbes

I will be honest, I figured Super Troopers 2 would be one of those decade-later sequels to a cult hit that mostly played to the hardcore fanbase. And maybe that’s still true, in which case Broken Lizard has a bigger fanbase than we thought. Or maybe this is a case where my general pessimism about the state of domestic theatrical moviegoing got the better of me. Because Super Troopers 2, a sequel to the 2002 cult hit, is the top movie on Friday. It may not win the weekend, but it qualifies as a demographically-specific event film.

Fox Searchlight provided the wide release distribution and marketing, but the actual production budget is something of a crowdfunding success. The Broken Lizard team raised $4.7 million via Indiegogo while teaming with Fandango to offer tickets to the finished film as a reward to would-be backers. They got another $8m in private financing and snagged $2.8m in tax rebates from Massachusetts, bringing the entire budget to a rather high $13.5m. The first film cost $3.5m back in 2002.

I get emails all the time about how this crowdfunded or fan-driven film is going to change the industry. You’ve never heard of most of these pictures. But a possible $16-$18 million debut weekend for Super Troopers 2 after around $7.9m on Friday feels like something worth sitting up and noticing. Or maybe this is just a matter of having a major studio in your corner versus self-distribution or a smaller distributor, something (for example) Steven Soderbergh lacked for Logan Lucky and UnSane.

Super Troopers opened in February of 2002 and made $18.4 million domestic and $23.182m worldwide. Director Jay Chandrasekhar went on to make a slightly-better-than-it-should’ve been Dukes of Hazzard movie ($80m domestic and $111m worldwide on a $50m budget). The likes of Club Dread ($7.5m worldwide), Beerfest ($19.1m) and The Babymakers ($7.9k on 11 screens) didn’t really make an impact. But like George Lucas going back to Star Wars after Radioland Murders and Willow disappointed, well, you get the idea.

With a cast that brings back Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, Kevin Heffernan and film comedy legend Brian Cox while adding Emmanuelle Chriqui, Tyler Labine, Lynda Carter, Rob Lowe, Will Sasso, and Hayes MacArthur, Super Troopers 2 is arguably a stealth breakout sequel. Sure, it might be frontloaded and may not win the weekend, but even a 2.1x multiplier gets it to $16.2m for the weekend. This is a huge and refreshing win for all parties. And yeah, I'm sure the Deadpool 2 trailer played quite well with last night's audiences.

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