Weekend Box Office (February 27 - March 1, 2015)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Proving once again he is no longer the box office magnet from years past, Will Smith attracted lackluster business to the opening weekend for his latest project Focus which was still able to capture the number one spot over a very sluggish moviegoing session. For the first time since Halloween, no film managed to generate $20M in weekend box office.

Focus opened to an estimated $19.1M from 3,323 locations averaging a not-so-impressive $5,748 per site. The con man flick was a rare move into R-rated territory for the actor and represented his second worst debut from the past 13 years. Only 2008's Seven Pounds opened worse at $14.9M. Plus Focus was only Smith's second number one hit over the past six years joining the tentpole sequel Men in Black 3 from 2012.

Reviews were mixed, Smith's starpower has faded, and the film's plot was not effectively communicated in its trailer and TV spots. Plus there was no help from any other stars or brand to pull in crowds. A big studio marketing push did what it could for a product that failed to excite anyone.

Audiences who did come out were only moderately pleased as evidenced by the film's B CinemaScore. Smith boasts over 76 million likes on Facebook and used his social media platform heavily to sell his latest project, but that didn't do much to make cash registers ring. Sometimes, people just don't want to see a particular movie.

Focus skewed older with studio data indicating that the crowd was 88% over 25 with females making up 53%. IMAX was offered in 351 locations and those screens contributed $2.1M, or 11% of the weekend take. With mixed audience buzz, the road ahead could be a bit rocky for Warner Bros.

Holding steady at number two for a third straight weekend was the action flick Kingsman: The Secret Service which fell 36% to an estimated $11.8M giving Fox a solid $85.7M to date. The Colin Firth spy pic is on its way to becoming 2015's first $100M+ hit to never reach the number one spot.

Close behind with an estimated $11.2M was Paramount's hit toon The SpongeBob Movie which was off only 32% and continues to benefit from a lack of competition. Cume to date is $140.3M domestic with the global tally up to $236.6M.

Two-time champ Fifty Shades of Grey fell to third place losing 51% of its business. With an estimated $10.9M, the Universal smash pushed its domestic total to $147.8M and its worldwide haul to a stellar $486.2M. It's the number one global blockbuster of 2015 to date.

The new fright flick The Lazarus Effect saw mild results in fifth place opening to an estimated $10.6M. Relativity's horror entry averaged a decent $3,976 from 2,666 sites and connected with the usual crowd for this genre, though not in any impressive way. Kevin Costner's latest film McFarland, USA dipped only 29% to an estimated $7.8M in its second weekend. The Disney release has banked $22M and may end up with about $40M.

Oscar winner American Sniper followed closely with an estimated $7.7M, off 23%, for a new cume of $331.1M for Warner Bros. It now sits at number 33 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters and by next weekend will pass both Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 to become the highest grossing domestic hit to come out of 2014. Global is a Clint best $470.2M.

High school comedy The DUFF fared well in its sophomore session slipping only 34% to an estimated $7.2M for $20.1M to date. Still Alice, which earned Julianne Moore the Oscar for Best Actress, expanded and rose 24% to an estimated $2.7M putting it in the top ten for the first time. Sony Classics has banked $12M to date. The comedy sequel Hot Tub Time Machine 2 tumbled 60% to an estimated $2.4M giving the flop $10.3M overall.

Other Oscar winners capitalized on their wins by expanding their runs. The big champ Birdman tripled its run from 407 to 1,213 locations and saw its weekend take soar 125% to an estimated $2M giving Fox Searchlight $40.3M overall. Whiplash rose 19% to an estimated $677,000 with $12.3M for Sony Classics. The Theory of Everything climbed 17% to an estimated $649,000 with $35.1M to date for Focus. Winners Selma and The Imitation Game have already burned through much of their audiences and their declines were in the mid 20s just like Sniper's.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $91.3M which was down 12% from last year when Non-Stop opened at number one with $28.9M; but up 4% from 2013 when Jack The Giant Slayer debuted on top with $27.2M.

Compared to projections, Focus and The Lazarus Effect both opened very close to my forecasts of $20M and $10M, respectively.

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

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Unfinished Business, Chappie, and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel all open.

# Title Feb 27 - Mar 1 Feb 20 - 22 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Focus $ 18,685,137 3,323 1 $ 5,623 $ 18,685,137 Warner Bros.
2 Kingsman: The Secret Service 11,880,077 18,346,023 -35.2 3,282 3 3,620 85,825,824 Fox
3 The SpongeBob Movie 10,820,212 16,573,682 -34.7 3,467 4 3,121 139,942,262 Paramount
4 Fifty Shades of Grey 10,555,195 22,259,030 -52.6 3,383 3 3,120 147,391,785 Universal
5 The Lazarus Effect 10,203,437 2,666 1 3,827 10,203,437 Relativity
6 McFarland, USA 7,835,205 11,020,798 -28.9 2,765 2 2,834 22,019,186 Disney
7 American Sniper 7,394,293 10,052,447 -26.4 2,914 10 2,538 330,802,741 Warner Bros.
8 The DUFF 6,866,102 10,809,149 -36.5 2,622 2 2,619 19,769,077 Lionsgate
9 Still Alice 2,695,000 2,166,000 24.4 1,318 7 2,045 11,984,000 Sony Classics
10 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 2,443,538 5,963,324 -59.0 2,901 2 842 10,311,071 Paramount
Top 5 $ 62,144,058 $ 79,008,682 -21.3
Top 10 89,378,196 103,802,091 -13.9
Top 10 vs. 2014 89,378,196 104,089,480 -14.1
Top 10 vs. 2013 89,378,196 87,821,690 1.8
Below the Top 10:
Jupiter Ascending 2,127,082 3,805,317 -44.1 1,545 4 1,377 43,138,145 Warner Bros.
Birdman 1,923,460 877,586 119.2 1,213 20 1,586 40,227,624 Fox Searchlight
The Imitation Game 1,871,815 2,527,637 -25.9 1,103 14 1,697 86,774,160 Weinstein Co.
Paddington 1,810,591 2,444,684 -25.9 1,421 7 1,274 70,214,210 Weinstein Co.
A La Mala 1,402,118 384 1 3,651 1,402,118 Lionsgate
Whiplash 677,000 569,000 19.0 538 21 1,258 12,265,000 Sony Classics
The Theory of Everything 634,562 553,819 14.6 611 17 1,039 35,035,090 Focus
The Wedding Ringer 579,668 1,293,378 -55.2 542 7 1,069 62,991,034 Sony
Big Hero 6 520,039 540,213 -3.7 348 17 1,494 220,876,780 Disney
Black or White 501,080 1,042,170 -51.9 718 5 698 20,602,166 Relativity

Last Updated: March 1, 2015 at 2:30PM ET

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