Oscar weekend can be bountiful (“Alice in Wonderland” in 2010 opened to
$116 million), so despite tomorrow night’s distraction three new wide
releases opened this week. The Duff” (Lionsgate), the first CBS Films production under their new distribution process and “McFarland, U.S.A.” (Buena Vista) showed promise, while “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” (Paramount) fell short. But three holdovers should end up leading the box office list for the full weekend, led by the still strong but no longer phenomenal “Fifty Shades of Grey” (Universal).
“Shades” over performed its initial weekend, so its $8 million yesterday (-74% from the combined Thursday night/Friday gross, 64% from Friday alone), though part of a big drop, will still leave it in top spot for the weekend, around $25 million. Some context, though – when “The Hunger Games” opened in March 2012, its second Friday dropped only slightly less (72%). “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (20th Century Fox), $5.3 million yesterday (down 50%) will retain second place.
“The Duff,” aimed at younger females, took third with just under $4.3 million, good for third for the day. It likely will be bested for that spot by “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” (Paramount), $4 million yesterday but headed towards a big matinee boost. “McFarland, U.S.A.” starring Kevin Costner, another feel-good high school sports movie though with a twist (this has been strongly marketed to Latino audiences) placed fifth with $3.6 million. Both “The Duff” and “McFarland” seem to be generating good word of mouth (respective Cinemascores of A- and A) and are lower budgeted ($8 and 25 million), suggesting their prospects for at least modest success are promising.
“American Sniper” (Warner Bros.) in sixth with $2.7 million should be just under $320 million by Monday morning, and is now certain to out gross all other 2014 releases (as well as combined bring in more domestically than all the other Best Picture nominees combined). Down only 30%, it had the best hold in the Top Ten. “Hot Tub 2” managed only $2.3 million for seventh place (and a terrible C- Cinemascore).
“Jupiter Rising” (Warner Bros.) hung on to eighth with $1.055 million. “The Imitation Game” (Weinstein) took ninth with $750,000. “Still Alice” (Sony Pictures Classics), still only in 765 theaters, placed tenth with $686,000. However, “Paddington” (Weinstein) with matinees should jump to ninth when the three day totals come in, bumping “Game” and “Alice” down a slot each.
The Top Ten totaled $28 million, up $2 million from a year ago, continuing the 2015 uptick even if this weekend is much below a week ago.