Tuesday, February 17, 2015

'Fifty Shades of Grey' and 'Kingsman' stun at President's Day weekend box office

Fifty Shades of Grey was one of the biggest literary phenomenons to hit American shores in a long time, so the movie adaptation was always destined to be a smash hit. But I seriously doubt that anybody ever thought it would do this good. The R-rated erotic drama grossed $93 million over the four-day President's Day weekend, which is a truly spectacular number. It's three-day total was the highest ever for a February release and the fourth highest-grossing opening for an R-rated film in history (behind The Matrix Reloaded, The Hangover Part II and American Sniper). Although the film received a so-so "C+" Cinemascore, Universal (Fifty Shades' distributor) has nothing to worry about. The film cost only $40 million, and in addition to the $93 million grossed in the US, the film made $172 million overseas for a total worldwide opening of $265 million. Those are blockbuster numbers and we are definitely going to see more films like this coming down the pipeline.

Kingsman: The Secret Service, Matthew Vaughn's R-rated spy caper, was also a huge hit this weekend, snagging $41.7 million in second place. For a violent actioner like this, that's a truly spectacular opening. Positive reviews and good word of mouth ("B+" Cinemascore) helped carry the film through the weekend and will continue to help the film in the coming weeks. Kingsman cost $81 million, but Fox should have no trouble recouping their budget on this one. International box office has already been strong and a finish around $100 million in the US is likely. Hopefully we'll get to see more of these films, because Kingsman was flat-out terrific.

Paramount's The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water continued its strong run this weekend in third place with $40 million. The animated film dropped only 27% from its debut weekend and will go on to make at least $175 million. Its current total is $103.1 million. In fourth place was American Sniper, which grossed $18.7 million in its fifth weekend at the box office. The film has grossed $306.4 million thus far and will finish with around $350 million. By the end of its run, American Sniper will be the top-grossing film of 2014.

The Wachowski siblings' baffling sci-fi thriller Jupiter Ascending finished in fifth place with $10.7 million. The poorly reviewed flick has now made $33.8 million, but will still go down as one of the year's biggest flops. That $33 million will do nothing to regain the film's $175 million production budget. Paddington continued its solid run in sixth place with $5.7 million, a 10% uptick from last weekend. The British kids film has now made $63.9 million.

In seventh place was (ironically) Seventh Son, the other big-budget February flop. The film pulled in $4.8 million this weekend, which was enough to raise its total to $14.1 million. A finish around $20 million should be expected. The Imitation Game finished in eighth place with $4.1 million, a mere 11% drop from the previous weekend. The Weinstein Company's word of mouth dynamo has now grossed $80.3 million and could crawl its way to $100 million.

The Wedding Ringer began to slow down its run, pulling in $3.7 million over the holiday frame. The Kevin Hart comedy has now grossed $60 million and will probably end its run in the $70 million range. And finally, Project Almanac rounded out the top ten with $3.3 million. The found footage time travel movie has now made $20.1 million.

Next weekend sees the release of Hot Tub Time Machine 2, The DUFF and McFarland, USA. Here are my predictions:

1. Fifty Shades of Grey- $31 million
2. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water- $30 million
3. Kingsman- $22.4 million
4. Hot Tub Time Machine 2- $15 million
5. McFarland, USA- $13.5 million
6. American Sniper- $12.9 million
7. Jupiter Ascending- $6.8 million
8. The DUFF- $6 million
9. Paddington- $4.9 million
10. The Imitation Game- $3.8 million

Image Credits: Yahoo, IGN, NY Daily News

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