Weekend Box Office (February 20 - 22, 2015)

by Sujit Chawla

THIS WEEKEND After a record-breaking opening, Fifty Shades of Grey followed up with an almost record-breaking collapse, but has still generated a tremendous amount of money around the world. Newcomers opened with so-so to poor numbers.

Falling 72.7% from last weekend's spectacular opening, Universal's dirty little film Fifty Shades of Grey brought in an estimated $23.2M this weekend, bringing its total domestic cume to $130M. Its nearly 73% drop ties it at number two for biggest drops for films playing on over 3,000 screens. Overseas the film held up better falling only 57% to $68M bringing its international totals to $280M for a worldwide cume of $410M. It was the number one movie in over 50 markets across the globe. Opening weekend demand for the film was obviously overwhelming and the second weekend drop was going to be big, but I think the studio was hoping it wouldn't be this big. Still, in North America alone the film should reach the $175-200M mark with sequels already in the works.

Second place for a second straight weekend belonged to Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service which fell 51% to an estimated $17.5M bringing its total up to $67M. At this rate it should easily cross the $100M mark which is a pretty good accomplishment for a film that was counter-programming for an S&M film. Third place once again belonged to The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water which fell 51% to $15.5M, according to estimates, bringing its cume to $125M. The first movie, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie made $85M total when it was released in 2004. Even adjusted for inflation, this second film is doing much, much better. I'm going to presume it won't be another 10 years before we see SpongeBob back on the big screen.

Newcomers sandwiched the biggest hit of the holiday season starting with a close race for fourth between Disney's McFarland, USA and Lionsgate's The DUFF. Currently the Kevin Costner-led cross country flick is in fourth place opening to an estimated $11.3M from 2,755 screens for a per screen average of $4,107. But close behind are the mean girls from The DUFF which opened to an estimated $11M from 2,575 screens for a stronger per screen average of $4,282. Considering their respective budgets (a reported $17M for McFarland, USA and $8.5M for The DUFF), the girls have to be seen as more successful than the boys. Both had surprisingly strong CinemaScores of an A and an A- respectively which should lead to stronger holds in the upcoming weeks.

Sixth place belonged to Oscar hopeful and runaway success American Sniper which dropped 41% to an estimated $9.6M this weekend, bringing its total to an astounding $319M. If it somehow manages to sneak in and steal the Best Picture Oscar, that number could grow much higher since, anecdotally, there are still a large number of people who haven't seen the film. Even without a Best Picture bump, American Sniper has defied all expectations and it is still on target to become the top grossing film of 2014, which I doubt anyone would have predicted a year ago.

Opening in seventh place with a resounding thud was the unnecessary sequel Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Opening on 2,880 screens, the film took in an estimated $5.8M for a per screen average of $2,014. The first film opened to $14M in March of 2010 and ended up with $50M theatrically and a quasi-cult following on home video. I don't expect the same for the sequel as the CinemaScore was a C- which is really hard to get unless people truly hate what they've seen. I would not expect a trilogy ender for this series.

Falling 60% in its third weekend was the Wachowski siblings sci-fi extravaganza Jupter Ascending which brought in an additional $3.6M, according to estimates, bringing its cume up to a hugely disappointing $39M. The Benedict Cumberbatch-led The Imitation Game was in ninth place this weekend in its 13th weekend of release, taking in an estimated $2.5M, bringing its cume up to $83M for the Weinstein Co. And rounding out the top ten was another Weinstein release, Paddington which fell 43% from last weekend to an estimated $2.3M, bringing its total up to $67M.

Outside of the top 10, Julianne Moore's trip to Oscar stardom Still Alice added 263 screens and gained 28% from last weekend taking in an estimated $2.1M bringing its cume to a modest $8M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $102.5M which was up 8.8% from last year when The Lego Movie remained at #1 for a third straight weekend with $31.3M; and up 21.8% from 2013 when Identity Thief reclaimed the top spot with $14M.

Compared to projections, McFarland, USA came in slightly under Gitesh's $13M forecast, The DUFF came in above his $8M prediction while Hot Tub Time Machine came in well below his $14M projection.

For reviews of all 8 of the Best Picture nominations, visit The Chief Report.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

Check the box office chart of Oscar nominations and grosses. Watch the trailer for Furious 7.

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Focus and The Lazarus Effect both open wide.

# Title Feb 20 - 22 Feb 13 - 15 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Fifty Shades of Grey $ 22,259,030 $ 85,171,450 -73.9 3,655 2 $ 6,090 $ 129,161,540 Universal
2 Kingsman: The Secret Service 18,346,023 36,206,331 -49.3 3,266 2 5,617 67,926,972 Fox
3 The SpongeBob Movie 16,573,682 31,457,373 -47.3 3,680 3 4,504 126,245,516 Paramount
4 McFarland, USA 11,020,798 2,755 1 4,000 11,020,798 Disney
5 The DUFF 10,809,149 2,575 1 4,198 10,809,149 Lionsgate
6 American Sniper 10,052,447 16,414,805 -38.8 3,235 9 3,107 320,009,626 Warner Bros.
7 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 5,963,324 2,880 1 2,071 5,963,324 Paramount
8 Jupiter Ascending 3,805,317 9,254,019 -58.9 2,503 3 1,520 39,662,296 Warner Bros.
9 The Imitation Game 2,527,637 3,487,137 -27.5 1,408 13 1,795 83,883,539 Weinstein Co.
10 Paddington 2,444,684 4,035,984 -39.4 1,837 6 1,331 67,816,450 Weinstein Co.
11 Still Alice 2,166,000 1,694,000 27.9 765 6 2,831 7,963,000 Sony Classics
12 The Wedding Ringer 1,293,378 3,244,447 -60.1 950 6 1,361 61,989,771 Sony
13 Black or White 1,042,170 2,688,314 -61.2 1,166 4 894 19,647,036 Relativity
14 Seventh Son 967,700 4,151,780 -76.7 1,019 3 950 16,043,235 Universal
15 Birdman 877,586 857,145 2.4 407 19 2,156 37,780,892 Fox Searchlight
16 Project Almanac 835,154 2,764,066 -69.8 828 4 1,009 21,473,530 Paramount
17 Selma 622,308 1,013,131 -38.6 412 9 1,510 49,550,204 Paramount
18 Whiplash 569,000 579,000 -1.7 440 20 1,293 11,330,000 Sony Classics
19 The Theory of Everything 553,819 740,821 -25.2 545 16 1,016 34,132,997 Focus
20 Big Hero 6 540,213 676,825 -20.2 292 16 1,850 220,212,093 Disney
Top 5 $ 79,008,682 $ 178,503,978 -55.7
Top 10 103,802,091 196,187,392 -47.1
Top 20 113,269,419 208,328,110 -45.6
Top 20 vs. 2014 113,269,419 105,589,428 7.3

Last Updated: February 22, 2015 at 2:00PM ET

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