2015 has been strong so far through two months (up 10% year-to-date), but this weekend looks to have the first significant drop of the year. Two new releases led yesterday’s grosses. But the top four order likely shifts for the three days.
“Focus” (Warner Bros.), starring the once sure-fire Will Smith in a sophisticated international caper, easily led the list with just under $6.5 million, but it ranks as one of the lowest first-day takes for the actor. “The Lazarus Effect” (Relativity), the latest horror film from Blumhouse Productions, took second with $3.8 million, but a projected fourth for the full weekend.
The Top Ten totaled only $26.5 million, making it (barely) ahead of the lowest Friday of the year, which was Super Bowl weekend, with no major new releases.
Wintry weather to major parts of the country contributed to the results. The overall weakness included significant drops across a wide range of films along with negligible impact from Oscar winners. “Fifty Shades of Grey” (Universal) took another 50%-plus tumble, down from $8 million last week to $3.5 million yesterday for third, though it has already reached $140 million (and $420 million total worldwide). “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (20th Century Fox) held better at $3.1 million and will battle “Grey” for the weekend’s second place (“Lazarus” like most genre entries likely has had its best single day already).
“The Duff” (Lionsgate), from CBS Films, took fifth, with a 50% drop to $2.1 million, just ahead of “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” (Paramount), sixth for the day. “McFarland, U.S.A.” (Buena Vista) was seventh with $2.0 million, “American Sniper” (Warner Bros.) eighth with $1.9. These four positions are tightly bunched and also are expected to shift with “The Duff” likely to lag behind the others over the next two days.
The last two spots grossed much lower. Julianne Moore’s Best Actress win boosted “Still Alice” (Sony Pictures Classics) to ninth with $750,000 in 1,318 theaters, but with a weak $569 per screen average (meaning only around 60 customers on average despite the Oscar boost). “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” (Paramount) hung on to tenth with $700,000. “Birdman” (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 1,213 theaters (against multiple home viewing options) and added $520,000, something around 55 tickets per theater. Oscar has seen better years.