So, how badly did The Wachowskis‘ “Jupiter Ascending” open this weekend? Equally critically mauled, big-budget movies like “After Earth,” “John Carter,” “Lone Ranger,” and “Battleship” all posted better opening weekend numbers, and had the added difficulty of the much more competitive summer movie season to deal with. The only thing Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis had to fear was a yellow animated sponge. And he beat them handily.
“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water” opened to much larger than expected $56 million dollar haul this weekend, far beyond the expected $30 million folks predicted. This is coming a full decade after the previous film, and clearly, there is a lot of gas left in the tank for the brand that some would say is long past its expiration date. Granted, Paramount timed the movie perfectly, as there isn’t much in the way of family fare in cinemas right now, but you also can’t discount SpongeBob and his pals, whose resonance clearly translates from the small screen to the big in lucrative ways.
But the bigger headline belongs to “Jupiter Ascending.” With a price tag in the neighborhood of $175 million, the first whiff of trouble arrived last year when Warner Bros. abruptly pushed the film from a scheduled summer slot, just weeks before it was due to be released. The line trotted out was that more time was needed on post-production, but it would seem the studio had good reason to be worried for the movie. This is the Wachowskis’ worst opening since “Speed Racer,” and while “Cloud Atlas” did even lower numbers, it also bowed in one thousand fewer cinemas on its first weekend. The directors have the Netflix series “Sense8” coming up, but one wonders how it long it will be before anyone gives them lots of studio money to play with on an original project again. Suddenly, those rumors about the a new “The Matrix” trilogy don’t seem so outlandish….
Delayed for two years, it’s not a big shock that “Seventh Son” bombed hard, earning paltry $7 million on a $95 million budget. However, overseas it took in $83 million — $25 million from China alone — and this will probably wind up turning a small profit at the end of the day. Still, everyone involved will likely be glad to forget it ever happened. And man, Jeff Bridges, after this, “R.I.P.D.,” and “The Giver,” maybe it’s time to go find another indie script.
As for “American Sniper,” everyone is still going to see it. It locked down the number two slot with $24 million, and with $282 million domestic, it’s the third highest grossing film of 2014, and the second biggest R-rated hit ever behind “Passion Of The Christ.” Chris Kyle is almost as big as Jesus.
1. The SpongeBog Movie: Sponge Out Of Water – $56 million
2. American Sniper – $24 million ($282 mil.)
3. Jupiter Ascending – $19 million
4. Seventh Son – $7.1 million
5. Paddington – $5.3 million ($57.2 mil.)
6. Project Almanac – $5.3 million ($15.7 mil.)
7. The Imitation Game – $4.8 million ($74.7 mil.)
8. The Wedding Ringer – $4.8 million ($55.1 mil.)
9. Black Or White – $4.5 million ($13.1 mil.)
10. The Boy Next Door – $4.1 million ($30.9 mil.)