One romance movie at the box office was replaced by another as once box office superstar Will Smith was paired with newcomer Margot Robbie for the crime-comedy Focus (Warner Bros.). Despite this being Smith’s first leading role in almost 19 months, the movie grossed just $6.5 million on Friday and ended up with $19.1 million for the weekend, Smith’s lowest opening since the drama Seven Pounds in 2008. Considering that Smith has only had one hit (Men in Black 3) in between is not a good sign that Will Smith won’t soon be joining Johnny Depp in the ranks of former box office sure-things that no longer can bring audiences into theaters. $2.1 million of that opening weekend was grossed on 351 IMAX screens, although it will be replaced in coming weeks by Chappie and then Cinderella.
Matthew Vaughn’s spy action-comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service (20th Century Fox) pulled ahead of the Valentine’s Day hit Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal), starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, in their third weekend together. The Colin Firth vehicle brought in $11.8 million in its third weekend (down 35%) to remain in second place for a third weekend in a row with a domestic gross of $88 million so far.
Third place once again went to The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (Paramount) with $11.2 million (down 33%), having a huge bump on Saturday after grossing just $2.1 million on Friday. It’s grossed $140.3 million domestically since opening four weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Fifty Shades dropped to fourth place with $10.9 million, down 51% from last weekend, with a total domestic gross of $147.8 million domestically. The movie opened in Korea this weekend where it added $1.8 million to its overseas gross of $338.4 as it continued to be #1 in 40 international territories and has grossed $486 million globally in a matter of weeks.
The low-budget horror movie The Lazarus Effect (Relativity) from Blumhouse Productions, headlined by the likes of Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Evan Peters and Sarah Bolger, opened in 2,666 theaters on Friday where it grossed an estimated $10.6 million or $3,976 per theater for a fifth place opening. It reportedly cost just $3.3 million to produce, which means it’s already in the black. Its C- CinemaScore is not a good sign that it will have much business after opening weekend, though.
Kevin Costner’s McFarland, USA (Disney) held up well in its second weekend, dropping just 29% for a weekend total of $7.8 million to take sixth place. It has grossed $22 million domestically to date.
Despite only receiving one technical award at the Oscars last Sunday, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper (Warner Bros.) held up well in its tenth weekend in theaters, grossing an estimated $7.7 million for seventh place, down just 33% from last weekend. It is mere days from passing Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 as the #1 movie of 2014 with $331.1 million grossed domestically and only $5.4 million more needed to reach that mark.
The teen comedy The DUFF (CBS Films/Lionsgate), starring Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, dropped to eighth place with $7.2 million, but it held its ground by being down just 33% from its opening weekend for a ten-day total of $20 million. It’s A- CinemaScore is a good sign that word-of-mouth will continue to drive its business into March.
The Top 10 was rounded out by the Julianne Moore drama Still Alice (Sony Pictures Classics), co-starring Kristen Stewart and Alec Baldwin, for which she won an Oscar last Sunday and the comedy sequel Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Paramount), starring Adam Scott, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke and Gillian Jacobs, which took a massive 60% drop in its second weekend. The former added $2.7 million for a total of $11.98 million after seven weeks, while “Hot Tub” made just $2.4 million for a total of $10.3 million.
Despite being available on DVD and Blu-ray for two weeks, Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman (Fox Searchlight), winner of Best Picture, Director and two more Academy Awards last Sunday, re-expanded nationwide into 1,213 theaters, which it capitalized on with a 125% bump to add $1.9 million for a theatrical gross of $40 million.
Pantelion Films’ Mexican rom-com A La Mala (Lionsgate), the third film from Pedro Pablo Ibarra (Pulling Strings), opened in 384 locations where it grossed $1.4 million, or $3,750 per venue.
David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, also starring Julianne Moore, along with Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson and John Cusack, opened in 66 theaters where it took in $139,000, a mere $2,106 per theater.
After a couple strong weekends, the box office was down from the same weekend last year when Liam Neeson’s action-thriller Non-Stop (Universal) and the biblical epic Son of God (20th Century Fox) topped things off with $29 and $25 million, respectively.