Box-office update: R-rated Neighbors a smash hit, PG-rated Moms’ Night Out disappoints, and more

Two comedies came out this week. Both of them have something to say about the importance of marriage and family, and both of them have something to say about the fleeting nature of wild and crazy youth. One of these films is raunchy and R-rated, and it was a box-office hit. The other is rated a family-friendly PG, and it was a box-office disappointment.

Neighbors, the R-rated hit, opened to $51.1 million this week, which is easily the best non-animated opening of Seth Rogen’s career, and one of the best openings for a live-action comedy ever. (Most of the comedies that have had better openings were sequels or action-comedy hybrids; the few exceptions are Bruce Almighty, Ted and maybe Valentine’s Day and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.)

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Interview: Tom Shadyac (Evan Almighty, 2007)

LOS ANGELES, CA — It has been four years since Bruce Almighty conquered the box office, and a lot has happened at the intersection of faith and film since then.

Many Christians were leery of the film when they heard that it starred Jim Carrey as a man who is endowed with supernatural powers after he complains that God isn’t doing a good enough job of running the world. But many Christians were pleasantly surprised to discover that, despite its bawdy humour, the movie raised serious questions about love, free will, and the need to submit to God’s plan for our lives.

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Interviews: Steve Carell, Lauren Graham, Wanda Sykes, Tom Shadyac (Evan Almighty, 2007)

On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon on the Universal Studios back lot, several journalists are preparing to interview the cast of Evan Almighty, many with one question on their minds:

Where’s God?

Most everyone here is impressed by the performance of Morgan Freeman, who is back playing God four years after he, um, created the role in Bruce Almighty. But Freeman himself is nowhere to be found. This is not too surprising, as Freeman is a busy actor whose talents are constantly in demand; but it does mean the most authoritative voice in the movie won’t be here to chat it up.

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Interview: Tom Shadyac (Evan Almighty, 2007)

LOS ANGELES, CA — Tom Shadyac made his name as the director and producer of such lowbrow comedies as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Nutty Professor. Then he took the bathroom humour in a more spiritual, if occasionally schmaltzy, direction with Liar Liar, Patch Adams and the phenomenally successful Bruce Almighty.

All of Shadyac’s previous films were rated PG-13 in the United States, but his newest film — Evan Almighty, in which God tells a man to build an ark, just like Noah — is rated a family-friendly PG. Shadyac, sitting down with several journalists on the Universal Studios backlot, is eager to let everyone know that the film is “safe.”

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