“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” (Paramount) showed the strength of established kids’ franchises and benefited from being the first wide animated release since Thanksgiving with a very strong first day take of $15 million. With matinees ahead, it will come in not quite at the level of “The Lego Movie” exactly one year ago ($69 million), but still score an unexpectedly strong number one gross somewhere around or above $55 million.
That sparked a Top Ten total of just under $38 million, up a little from last year despite “LEGO” and despite the other two high-end openers coming in short of expected levels. Andy and Lana Wachowski’s “Jupiter Ascending” (Warner Bros.) managed second for the day, but with only $6.4 million looking to be the biggest flop yet in a barely started year that has already seen major failures from top directors and/or stars. And “Seventh Son” (Universal) started much worse in fourth with an awful $2.3 million (although to its credit it has already taken in $82 million since December in foreign business).
“SpongeBob” ends “American Sniper“‘s (Warner Bros.) three-week run at number one. At $6.3 million in third for the day and just behind “Jupiter,” it should easily place second for the three days and somewhere close to $280 million total. The order for the rest of the Top Ten will likely also shift from yesterday’s rankings with less than $400,000 separating fifth through tenth place. For yesterday, these (in millions) in order include “Project Almanac” (Paramount) just under $1.5, “The Wedding Ringer” (Sony) a bit above $1.3, “Black or White” (Relativity) and “The Imitation Game” (Weinstein) just under $1.3, “The Boy Next Door” (Universal) at $1.2 and “Paddington” (Weinstein) $1.1.