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Weekend Box-Office: Will Smith Steals ‘Focus’ From ‘Fifty Shades’ But Still Underwhelms, Oscar Pics Get Bumps

Weekend Box-Office: Will Smith Steals ‘Focus’ From ‘Fifty Shades’ But Still Underwhelms, Oscar Pics Get Bumps

“I got reinvigorated after the failure of ‘After Earth.’ I stopped working for a year and a half. I had to dive into why it was so important for me to have number-one movies,” Will Smith recently said about his sci-fi film that failed to open higher than #3 or earn more than $30 million back in the summer of 2013. Well, Big Willy, we have good news and bad news. The good news is you do have a #1 opening movie with the romantic caper film “Focus.” The bad news is, at $19 million, it’s your lowest-grossing number one movie since, well, ever, unless you include “Six Degrees Of Separation” which wasn’t a lead role, and was released in 1993. In the same interview, Smith seemed to suggest that quality not quantity is what really matters, so hopefully he won’t be as “devastated” as he was back then.

How’s “Fifty Shades Of Grey” doing? Depends on where you live. At home, the movie fell another 50% in week three, and dropped to number four. That’s not terrible, not amazing, but the film has grossed $147 million domestically at home. Overseas, as is the new normal these days, is another story. ‘Fifty Shades’ has grossed $338 million internationally. That’s Universal‘s highest grossing R-Rated movie internationally ever. At $486 million worldwide, ‘Fifty Shades’ will easily cross $500 million, and at this point $600 million seems doable too. So much for anyone hoping this film wouldn’t get a sequel. The only other new wide release entry this week didn’t fare so well; Relativity‘s “The Lazarus Effect” could only muster $10 million for its opening weekend. That’s a low figure for a cheapie horror that actually has a good cast, but maybe poor reviews made the difference. Then again, it only cost $3.3 million, so maybe no one’s really sweating it right now.

Holding strong at the box-office was “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (-36%) and “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” (-32%). The former is nearing the $100 million mark domestically and the latter is almost at $150 million. It should be said that with a cost of $81 million, and only a $200 million gross worldwide so far, ‘Kingsman’ isn’t a smash hit economically, but less profitable movies have been green-lit for sequels, so who knows.

With a small -23% drop, “American Sniper” is finally fading with audiences. But $7.7 million in its 10th weekend in theaters is still impressive. More importantly ‘Sniper’ is about one weekend away from becoming the highest grossing movie of 2014 domestically (it’s about $5 million away from overtaking “Mockingjay – Part 1”). Elsewhere in the top 10, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” suffered the biggest drop (almost 60%) and “The Duff” showed a strong hold (-33%) as did “McFarland USA” (-29.3%).

As you’d probably expect, all of the Oscar movies received some big bumps post Academy Awards ceremony, but one unexpected film scored the biggest boost. “Birdman” may have won Best Picture and three other major awards, but Julianne Moore’s “Still Alice” win for Best Actress scored the biggest financial injection with a 24% jump from last week. Sony Pictures Classics added another 553 theaters to its count and “Still Alice” leapt into the top 10 with $2.6 million. Fox Searchlight added 806 theaters (+125%) to its count, and while it failed to crack the top 10, “Birdman” did add almost $2 million to its now north of $40 million domestic gross. 

Unfortunately for “Birdman,” it has the distinction of being the 2nd lowest grossing Best Picture ever (or since they started tracking box-office in the late 1970s). “The Hurt Locker” holds the ignominious record of lowest grossing Best Picture winner ever. Other pictures receiving Oscar boosts included “The Imitation Game” ($1.9 million, though it actually fell -23% from last weekend), “Whiplash” ($677,000, +19%), and “The Theory Of Everything” (649,000, +17%), but these are relatively paltry numbers. And don’t be surprised if studios take notice and become even more reluctant to dump large sums of money into prestige movies that seem to be grossing less and less each year (2014 Best Picture winner “12 Years A Slave” only grossed $56 million domestically). But there are always exceptions like “American Sniper” or “American Hustle” ($150 million total at home).

In limited release, Roadside Attractions‘ action thriller “’71” with Jack O’Connell fared best. The indie scored $60,000 from four theaters for a strong $15.02 per screen average. Much less impressive was Focus‘ “Maps To The Stars” which grossed $139,000 from 66 theaters for a low $2,106 PSA. That’s an almost shockingly low PSA for a picture with this many stars (Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, etc.), but the movie is also on VOD this weekend, so it probably fared better there.

1. Focus — $19,100,000
2. 2 Kingsman: The Secret Service — $11,750,000 ($85,696,000)
3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water — $11,200,000 ($140,322,000)
4. Fifty Shades of Grey — $10,927,000 ($147,764,000)
5. The Lazarus Effect — $10,600,000
6. McFarland, USA — $7,797,000 ($21,981,000)
7. American Sniper — $7,700,000 ($331,108,000)
8. The DUFF — $7,150,000 ($20,053,000)
9. Still Alice — $2,695,000 ($11,984,000)
10. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 — $2,400,000 ($10,268,000)

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