After a month where Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper dominated the box office, not allowing anything else near #1, February kicked off with a new movie that finally managed to end the war drama’s reign, and of all things, it was Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
Over ten years since the previous feature film based on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon, the return of SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends to theaters was greeted with a rapturous $56 million opening in 3,641 theaters, more than $15,000 per location. That’s $26 million more than the opening of the original movie in 2004, which went on to gross $85.4 million domestically and $140.2 million worldwide.
With the Presidents Day holiday next weekend and no other new family films opening in February, The SpongeBob Movie is on its way to becoming the first movie of 2015 to gross $100 million, although it will have some competition from next week’s Fifty Shades of Grey as far as becoming the highest-grossing movie of the year so far.
Bradley Cooper’s American Sniper continued to do well, dropping just 21% from Super Bowl weekend, for second place with $24.2 million and $282.3 million grossed since opening in New York and L.A. on Christmas Day. It has become the third-highest grossing film domestically to open in 2014, ahead of The LEGO Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Transformers: Age of Extinction, and the way it’s going, it could eventually surpass Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.
Things weren’t looking as good for the Wachowskis’ sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending (Warner Bros.), starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne and Sean Bean, as it opened meekly in third place with $19 million in 3,181 theaters or less than $6,000 per location. Not good for a movie that reportedly cost $175 million to make. It grossed $2.2 million in 334 IMAX screens, which it shared with Seventh Son, but that isn’t that much more than last week’s “Game of Thrones” experiment.
Things also weren’t good for Legendary Pictures’ Seventh Son (Universal), starring Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Ben Barnes, released into 2,872 theaters after being delayed for years. The long delays hurt, because it opened with just $7.1 million or $2,472 per location, a devastating bomb for the movie that cost $95 million to produce. Its B- CinemaScore is not a good sign that the movie’s going to pick up steam from word-of-mouth, but at least, it’s done better overseas with $83.6 million grossed in a number of territories including China where it could make up for its poor North American showing.
The family film Paddington (The Weinstein Company) continued to do well even with the introduction of the mega-blockbuster The SpongeBob Movie, down 37% in its fourth weekend with $5.4 million to take fifth place, having grossed $57.3 million domestically.
It was just a few thousand ahead of the time travel adventure film Project Almanac (Paramount), which dropped to sixth place in its second weekend with $5.3 million and $15.8 million grossed so far.
The Weinstein Company’s Oscar-nominated Best Picture The Imitation Game, starring nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, held up well in its eighth weekend in the Top 10 with $4.9 million (down just 3% from last weekend) with an impressive $75 million total gross since opening last Thanksgiving. That also makes it the second-highest grossing Oscar Best Picture nominee after American Sniper.
Kevin Hart and Josh Gad’s comedy The Wedding Ringer (Sony/Screen Gems) dropped to eighth place with $4.8 million (down 16%) with a running total of $55 million.
The Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer drama Black or White (Relativity) dropped just 27% from its opening weekend to take night place with $4.5 million and $13.1 million grossed in ten days.
The Top 10 was rounded out by Jennifer Lopez’s thriller The Boy Next Door (Universal) with $4.1 million and $30.9 million grossed so far.
Although the first weekend of February 2014 saw the release of The LEGO Movie with its opening weekend of $69 million, this weekend surpassed it with the Top 10 grossing an estimated $135 million, up about $8 million from the same weekend last year.