US box office: Neighbors borrows Spider-Man 2's sugar

Neighbors delivers goods for Universal

Universal Pictures bolstered its already impressive comedy credentials with a No 1 debut for Neighbors (known as Bad Neighbours in the UK) that smashed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in its second weekend. The estimated $51m (£30.18m) debut from 3,279 theatres puts Neighbors on course to cross $100m (£59.18m) with no comedy to challenge it until Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West arrives on 30 May.

The launch took some sting out of rival comedy The Other Woman, too, and bolstered Universal's credentials as a solid purveyor of stoner treats in the wake of 2012's Ted, while their comedy back catalogue includes hit Apatow productions such as Bridesmaids, Knocked Up and Funny People.

Whither The Amazing Spider-Man 2?

That Neighbors built up a head of steam is beyond doubt and hats off to the comedy for usurping former box-office champ Spidey. However, the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has only taken $147.9m (£87.5m) after two weekends does not bode well for its long-term prospects. By the same stage the 2012 prequel had reached $200.5m (£118.6m) en route to $262m (£115m) and on this showing Spidey 2 is by no means guaranteed to get near that number.

Captain America 2 surges past first film

Conversely, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has smashed past the final tally of its 2011 predecessor. That film ended on $176.7m (£104.5m) in November 2011. At this rate, Winter Soldier will cross $250m (£147.9m) with ease. Good news for a movie that has already been hailed as one of the best from Marvel stable. Marvel executives, along with suits from parent company Disney, will be licking their lips at the thought of the third episode.

Chef cooks up tasty starter

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Chef, Jon Favreau's drama about a cook who returns to his roots and launches a food cart, has been described as heartwarming by some critics and certainly dished out a result that will make its distributor feel all tingly inside. The movie grossed $204,000 (£120,710) from six venues through Open Road in a noticeable splash. The distributor will look to build it gradually in the coming weeks based on solid world of mouth.

Palo Alto

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When he's not acting and directing, painting, teaching or pulling, James Franco is writing. Palo Alto, the feature version of his collection of short stories, arrived in theatres through Tribeca Film on $80,600 from four venues for a very respectable $20,150. Gia Coppola – granddaughter of Francis, niece of Sofia – took the helm on Franco's selection of short stories, marking her debut into the world of directing. Time will tell if she is destined to join the family in the pantheon of greatness.

North American top 10, 9-11 May 2014

1. Neighbors, $51.1m –

2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, $37.2m. Total: $147.9m

3. The Other Woman, $9.3m. Total: $61.7m

4. Heaven Is for Real, $7m. Total: $75.2m

5. Captain America: The Winter Solider, $5.6m. Total: $244.9m

6. Rio 2, $5.1m. Total: $113.2m

7. Mom's Night Out, $4.2m –

8. Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, $3.7m

9. Divergent, $1.7m. Total: $145m

10. Brick Mansions, $1.5m. Total: $18.3m

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