Sunday Update: As was widely expected, Warner's Focus debuted in first place this weekend with an estimated $19.1 million. However, the romantic heist film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie did perform slightly below pre-release expectations. Focus opened a lackluster 31 percent below the $27.52 million start of 2013's After Earth, though it should be noted that Focus was far less expensive than After Earth and will likely hold up significantly better than After Earth did after opening weekend. With that said, the debut of Focus further suggests that Smith's drawing power at the box office is nowhere near the level it once was.
Focus debuted with $6.47 million on Friday (which included an estimated $900,000 from Thursday night shows), increased 18 percent on Saturday to take in $7.66 million and is estimated to decline 35 percent on Sunday to claim $4.98 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at a very solid 2.95 to 1 (though it should be noted that Friday's grosses were deflated a bit in general by winter weather in parts of the country). The film received a respectable B rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for Focus skewed towards female moviegoers (53 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (88 percent).
Focus took in $2.08 million from IMAX locations, which represented 10.9 percent of the film's overall gross this weekend.
It was a tight race for places two through five this weekend, as second place and fifth place were separated by just an estimated $1.15 million.
Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service took in an estimated $11.75 million to claim second place for a third consecutive weekend. The Matthew Vaughn directed graphic novel adaptation starring Colin Firth was down a very solid 36 percent from last weekend. Kingsman: The Secret Service continues to inch closer to the $100 million domestic mark with a stronger than expected 17-day take of $85.69 million. That places the film an impressive 46 percent ahead of the $58.82 million 17-day gross of 2010's Red.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water held steady in third place this weekend with an estimated $11.2 million. Thanks in part to facing no new direct competition for family audiences, Paramount's 3D animated film stabilized nicely this weekend, as it was down 32 percent from last weekend. The SpongeBob Movie continues to exceed expectations with a strong 24-day take of $140.32 million and is running 32 percent ahead of the $106.34 million 24-day take of 2011's Rango.
After leading the box office each of the past two weekends, Fifty Shades of Grey fell three spots to land in fourth place with an estimated $10.93 million. Universal's successful erotic romantic drama was down a sharp 51 percent from last weekend, but showed relative signs of stabilization after last weekend's massive percentage decline. While it's proving to be very front-loaded, Fifty Shades of Grey has grossed a very strong $147.76 million in 17 days, which places it a sizable 48 percent ahead of the $99.92 million 17-day take of 2010's Valentine's Day.
The Lazarus Effect debuted in fifth place with an estimated $10.6 million. The low-budget PG-13 rated horror film from Relativity had been widely expected to open slightly higher, but was still off to a solid start this weekend given its cost. It should also be noted that online activity levels before the film's release were soft by horror film standards. The Lazarus Effect opened 12 percent below the $12.01 million start of Relativity's Oculus last April.
The Lazarus Effect opened with $3.8 million on Friday (which included an estimated $350,000 from Thursday night shows), increased a healthy 15.5 percent on Saturday to take in $4.39 million and is estimated to decline 45 percent on Sunday to gross an estimated $2.41 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.79 to 1, which is very promising for a horror film. On the other hand, The Lazarus Effect received a C- rating on CinemaScore, which isn't the greatest early sign (even by horror film standards).
Disney's McFarland, USA held up very nicely in its second weekend, as it was down just 29 percent to place in sixth with an estimated $7.79 million. The sports drama starring Kevin Costner continues to perform on the high end of expectations with $21.98 million in ten days. That places the film 13.5 percent ahead of the $19.36 million ten-day take of last year's Draft Day (which fell 42 percent in its second weekend to gross $5.71 million). This weekend's hold is a strong sign for McFarland, USA going forward.
Warner's American Sniper continued to hold up very well this weekend with an estimated seventh place take of $7.7 million. The blockbuster Clint Eastwood directed Best Picture nominee starring Bradley Cooper was down a slim 23 percent from last weekend. American Sniper has grossed a massive $331.11 million to date and is now on the verge of surpassing the $336.71 million current total gross of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 to become the highest grossing release of 2014 domestically.
The DUFF also held up well this weekend with an estimated eighth place gross of $7.15 million. The low-budget PG-13 comedy from CBS Films and Lionsgate was down 34 percent from last weekend's stronger than expected start. The DUFF continues to exceed expectations with $20.05 million in ten days. That places the film 21 percent ahead of the $16.55 million ten-day take of last year's That Awkward Moment (which fell 40 percent in its second weekend to gross $5.24 million).
Saturday Update: Warner Bros. reports that Focus earned an estimated $6.47 million for its opening day, easily taking first place on Friday. The Will Smith-Margot Robbie con artist flick debuted just under Limitless' $6.6 million first day back in 2011. Unfortunately, early word of mouth appears very mixed as the film received a "B" CinemaScore and sits at a 66 percent user rating on Rotten Tomatoes this morning (where critics disapprove even more at 56 percent). Still, the film's adult-skewing appeal could balance out some of the early complaints about the film throughout the weekend. BoxOffice is projecting an opening frame of $18.5 million.
Relativity's The Lazarus Effect debuted to $3.8 million on Friday as it claimed second place for the day, nearly 24 percent lower than last year's Oculus. The horror pic's early buzz isn't heading in the right direction, though: only 33 percent of Rotten Tomatoes users approve of the film so far, while critics have given it an even lower 14 percent. Given the natural tendency for horror pics to drop off quickly, expect the same here. BoxOffice projects a $9.2 million opening weekend.
Fifty Shades of Grey slid into third place yesterday with $3.5 million, down another 56.5 percent from last Friday. The erotic drama has taken in $140.3 million domestically through 15 days of release, putting it 8 percent ahead of the original Twilight. BoxOffice projects a $9.9 million third weekend.
Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service continues to display strong holding power as it eased 41 percent from last Friday to $3.12 million in fourth place. The graphic novel adaptation has earned an impressive $77.1 million domestically to date, putting it 1 percent ahead of Daredevil and 31 percent ahead of Jumper through their same release points. Kingsman will also surpass the latter film's final domestic gross of $80.2 million over the weekend. Look for a weekend total around $10.8 million.
Filling out the top five yesterday was The DUFF, down just 50 percent from opening day last week to $2.14 million. The sleeper hit's 8-day total stands at just over $15 million, putting it 15 percent ahead of the pace of That Awkward Moment. BoxOffice projects a $6.5 million weekend.
Three well-received holdovers fought for space just outside the top five yesterday. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water dropped 47.5 percent to $2.11 million, giving it a strong $131.2 total thus far and setting it on course for an $8.9 million frame.
McFarland, USA was off just 45 percent from opening day last week to $1.99 million, bringing its 8-day total to $16.2 million (in line with Draft Day's $15.8 million sum through the same point) as the latest Kevin Costner sports drama eyes a $6.8 million sophomore frame.
Meanwhile, American Sniper added another $1.9 million (off just 30 percent from last Friday), giving it $325.3 million in all domestically. The blockbuster flick should land around $7 million this weekend, and is currently on pace to surpass The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 by next weekend to officially become 2014's highest grossing release.
Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.
Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Focus will be the #1 opening this weekend with a respectable $23 million. The Lazarus Effect is on pace for $12 million.
Check back tomorrow for updated projections and official studio figures.
Friday Update #1: Warner Bros. reports that Focus bowed to a solid $900,000 from Thursday pre-shows. Comparisons for con artist flicks are fairly slim, but last night's showing from the Will Smith/Margot Robbie pic was noticeably ahead of the $550,000 posted by Monuments Men last February and just under the $1.3 million of Gone Girl in October.
Prior to release, tracking had been suggesting an opening weekend north of $20 million to be likely. Last night's results back that up so far.
Also opening this weekend is The Lazarus Effect, which pulled a reported $350,000 from 8pm and later shows last night. By comparison, last April's Oculus earned $480,000 from Thursday night shows.
More as it comes.