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By Daniel Garris

As was widely expected, Warner's Focus debuted in first place this weekend with $18.69 million. However, the romantic heist film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie did perform a bit below pre-release expectations. Focus opened a lackluster 32 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 $6.45 million on Friday (which included an estimated $900,000 from Thursday night shows), increased 18 percent on Saturday to take in $7.63 million and declined 40 percent on Sunday to claim $4.59 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.90 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).

It was a tight race for spots two through five this weekend, as second place and fifth place were separated by just $1.68 million.

Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service took in $11.88 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 35 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 $85.83 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 $10.82 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 35 percent from last weekend. The SpongeBob Movie continues to exceed expectations with a strong 24-day take of $139.94 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 $10.56 million. Universal's successful erotic romantic drama was down a sharp 53 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 $147.39 million in 17 days, which places it a sizable 47.5 percent ahead of the $99.92 million 17-day take of 2010's Valentine's Day.

The Lazarus Effect debuted in fifth place with $10.20 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 15 percent below the $12.01 million start of Relativity's Oculus last April.

The Lazarus Effect opened with $3.79 million on Friday (which included an estimated $350,000 from Thursday night shows), increased a healthy 15 percent on Saturday to take in $4.37 million and declined 53 percent on Sunday to gross $2.05 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.69 to 1, which is a promising sign 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 $7.84 million. The sports drama starring Kevin Costner continues to perform on the high end of expectations with $22.02 million in ten days. That places the film 14 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 a seventh place take of $7.39 million. The blockbuster Clint Eastwood directed Best Picture nominee starring Bradley Cooper was down a slim 26 percent from last weekend. American Sniper has grossed a massive $330.82 million to date and is now on the verge of surpassing the $336.72 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 eighth place gross of $6.87 million. The low-budget PG-13 comedy from CBS Films and Lionsgate was down 36 percent from last weekend's stronger than expected start. The DUFF continues to exceed expectations with $19.77 million in ten days. That places the film 19.5 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).

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Torrance, CA -- MediaMation, Inc. (MMI) is pleased to announce Sony Business Solutions Corporation (SBSC) will be the exclusive distributors for their MediaMation MX4DTM Motion EFX Cinema Theatres in Japan. The flagship installation in this new alliance will be the opening of TOHO Cinemas LaLaport Fujimi, MediaMation MX4DTM Motion EFX Cinema Theatre in April 2015, with two additional 100+ seat installations following shortly thereafter in TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills and TOHO Cinemas Shinjuku. TOHO Cinemas is the nation's largest cinema chain.

Sony Business Solutions Corporation, a subsidiary company of Sony Corporation, acts as a "one-stop-shop" for a client's business needs. Their market reach and expertise encompasses broadcasting, digital cinema, education, sports stadiums, governmental entities, medical, retail and more. As part of its agreement with MMI, Sony Business Solutions Corporation SBSC will handle MediaMation MX4DTM Motion EFX Cinema Theatre clients in Japan and fuel MediaMation's expansion by providing integration, sales installation, servicing and support for MMI's MX4DTM Cinema Theatres.

MX4DTM is MediaMation's uniquely branded "4D" pneumatically driven motion EFX system. In general, 4D refers to an emerging "immersive" technology which allows movie-goers to experience big Hollywood "blockbusters" in a new way via the addition of moving seats, air/water blasts, leg ticklers, fog, scents and other special effects that emanate from specially designed theatre seats, or from inside the theatre itself. These multiple special effects are programmed to both sync with and enhance the action on the screen for a more exciting and realistic movie-going experience.

Notes MMI Vice President/CTO Dan Jamele: "With our new partner, Sony Business Solutions Corporation, we see adding MediaMation MX4DTM Motion EFX cinema technology to their stable of offerings as a natural extension of the Sony business model, since Sony Business Solutions Corporation SBSC routinely deals with digital cinema systems throughout Japan. As the rapid expansion of our MX4DTM Motion EFX Theatres into the world-wide cinema market progresses, this partnership is a significant milestone in our global reach. With Sony Business Solutions Corporation SBSC's reputation and longevity, we feel our clients in Japan will be in good hands."

Observes Takashi Hayasaka, General Manager, New Business Promotion Department, Sales & Marketing Division, Sony Business Solutions Corporation: "As Sony Business Solutions Corporation expands its offerings to its customer base, we see MediaMation's MX4DTM Motion EFX Theatres as the next evolution in the cinema market. MediaMation provides strong experience and the best technology available. Sony Business Solutions Corporation is proud to be a partner with them in this exciting growth industry."

MediaMation is committed to entertaining the masses with their visionary technology. The company creates innovative ways to immerse the audience in their surroundings... taking them out of their element and interjecting them into a different experience. Because of their long history in this arena, it comes as no surprise that the demand for their designs and implementation of theatres, interactive exhibits and fountain shows continues to gain momentum. MediaMation owes its approach to their success in understanding the clients' wants and needs and works closely with them to be sure that they convey their client's vision to their patrons. No matter how intricate it may be, they are always up for the challenge.

Since its inception, MediaMation has worked with major theme parks, museums and family fun centers. In 2010, MediaMation saw the opportunity to provide this same interactive, immersive technology as it did for 4D/5D Motion EFX theatres in themed environments. Since then, it has been bringing its technological innovations to the cinema market, where it has been well received -- new rollouts of cinema screens are happening monthly.

 

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By Alex Edghill

Monday Morning Update: Avengers: Age Of Ultron blew away the competition last week on Facebook as it rose by almost 700,000 new likes. It saw more new likes than the other 80 upcoming wide releases we track combined. There was a ton of news on the week surrounding the film including numerous character posters, spoiler-filled interviews and speculation over Spider-Man's potential inclusion into a post credits scene in the film. Big gains for the film are barely news-worthy since just about anything under $200 million will be spun as a disappointment (as ludicrous as that actually is), but for what its worth this is the biggest gain I can recall for a film not tied to a trailer in a given Facebook week. Interest is just so high for it and people are clamouring for more of the Marvel Creative Universe.

Following its recent Twitter successes The Divergent Series: Insurgent made it to the second spot here with 77,734 new likes, allowing it to crack the 4.5 million total like mark. The buzz really has been picking up for the film in recent weeks, and as such another $50+ million opening appears to be a lock. By comparison, the first film had a similar 65k like increase the same distance before its release.

Chappie had another strong outing, making it into the top 5 for the second time in as many weeks. I've been drawing comparisons to Elysium in recent weeks and that film had 355,495 tweets the same distance before its release. Elysium had a bigger ramp-up in the weeks leading into its opening even though it was virtually neck and neck with Chappie 1 month+ prior to release. Whether that can be attributed to more marketing spend or audiences not connecting with Chappie is unknown but I have a hard time seeing this breaking $30 million with its lukewarm Facebook (and also Twitter) numbers in mind.

Minions and Cinderella are staples of the top 5 here so it wasn't surprising to see their inclusion. Minions appears to be all set to be the first non-sequel to have 30 million likes before its opening day. True its a spinoff of a franchise but its not reusing the same Facebook page which makes its numbers pretty astonishing. Cinderella has frequented the top 5 on Facebook for weeks now, and this past week was no different as the like machine kept rolling. Both of these films are strong candidates for top 10 grossers on the year.

Facebook Top 5 Movies by Like Increase for the last week Ending Sunday February 22nd

Rank Release Movie Likes Previous Change % Change
1 05/01/15 Avengers: Age of Ultron 13,748,523 13,051,864 696,659 5.34%
2 03/20/15 The Divergent Series: Insurgent 4,429,535 4,351,801 77,734 1.79%
3 03/06/15 Chappie 243,940 194,854 49,086 25.19%
4 07/10/15 Minions 29,075,420 29,038,509 36,911 0.13%
5 03/13/15 Cinderella (2015) 13,615,874 13,590,779 25,095 0.18%

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Please check the methodology page for information about our Twitter project or here for historic data.

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by Daniel Loria

Fifty Shades of Grey brought in $36 million from 59 territories over the weekend, taking its overseas total up to $338.4 million. South Korea took a #4 debut with $1.8 million at 512 dates. Universal is happy with the result considering the novel was not a best-seller in South Korea and the late February release was slotted in order to benefit from the publicity of the film's worldwide opening. Top market for the erotic thriller include the UK ($46.9M), Germany ($33.7M), France ($24.5M), Brazil ($24.2M), and Italy ($21.2M). Fifty Shades of Grey has grossed a total of $486.2 million worldwide and is expected to cross the $500 million mark mid-week.

Kingsman: The Secret Service collected $25.8 million over the weekend. South Korea finished strong in its third frame, claiming the top spot at the box office as it adds to its running cume of $25.4 million. New markets this weekend include a #2 finish in Mexico with a $1.75 million bow from 1,050 screens. Spain took #3 with a $1.36 million debut across 385 screens. Italy also opened in third place with $1.2 million from 263 screens. Kingsman: The Secret Service has grossed a total of $124.6 million outside of North America and $210.2 million globally.

Big Hero 6 scored the biggest opening weekend of all time for a Disney animation release in China with a $14.8 million debut. It accounted for more than two thirds of the film's overseas earnings this weekend, as Big Hero 6 netted $21.6 million from 25 territories. The film has now grossed a total of $351.3 million overseas and $572.1 million worldwide.

American Sniper continues its miracle box office run after adding $19.5 million from 4,545 screens in 59 markets, making it the highest grossing Clint Eastwood directed film of all time overseas with a $139.1 million cume outside of North America. The film took a #2 debut at 333 screens in Germany with $3.7 million. The film kept the top spot in France once again with a $4.5 million take from 461 screens, only a 27% slide from last weekend's debut. Japan also remains at #1 after a 19% dip, accounting for a $2.3 million weekend at 338 screens. Top markets include Italy ($23.1M), UK ($20.2M), Australia ($14.8M), and France ($12.4M). American Sniper expands to Russia next weekend with $470.2 million from global box office receipts already in the bank.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water expanded to Italy and Finland over the weekend as it finished its latest frame overseas with $14.2 million from 6,947 locations in 46 territories. Italy opened at #1 with $2.3 million from 360 locations, 67% ahead of the Big Hero 6 debut. Strong holds in Germany ($2.2M Weekend, $7.7M Total), France ($2.1M Weekend, $6M Total), and Brazil ($1.1.M Weekend, $14.8M Total) round out the weekend's top performers. The latest Spongebob film has grossed $96.3 million overseas and $236.6 million worldwide.

Focus took a $31.3 million global day-and-date debut after earning $12.2 million from 31 overseas markets. The Will Smith vehicle enjoyed success in Russia, where it opened to $3.1 million at 1,265 screens. The film still has 70% of its overseas markets left to open, including releases in Germany, Italy, Australia, and Mexico next weekend.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opened in the UK with a $5.85 million tally from 871 locations, outperforming the original by 170%. Australia posted a $3.05 million debut, 15% ahead of the original, while New Zealand secured the top spot at the box office with a $496k bow from 162 screens, 20% above its predecessor. The overseas total from its first three markets adds up to $9.4 million.

The Oscar bump amounted to a $5.8 million weekend overseas for Birdman. The film opened in France to $1.6 million from 159 screens. Birdman has now grossed $46 million overseas and $86.2 million globally.

Jupiter Ascending grossed $3.5 million from 2,925 screens in 64 markets over the weekend. The film's top markets include Russia ($8.9M), UK ($6.4M), France ($6.4M), and Brazil ($5.8M) as it prepares for its release in China next weekend. Jupiter Ascending has grossed a total of $81.1 million overseas and $124.2 million globally.

The Theory of Everything earned $3.2 million in 46 territories thanks to an expansion that included openings in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa and Turkey. Russia impressed by netting $235k in limited release at 110 dates, the biggest opening for a film on less than 150 screens for the last five years. The biopic has grossed $75.1 million overseas and $110.2 million worldwide.

Penguins of Madagascar added another $2.5 million to its overseas tally this weekend. The animated film has grossed $281.6 million overseas and $364.3 million globally.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb collected $2.2 million over the weekend. The film has grossed $232.6 million overseas with Japan set to realize on March 20. The film has grossed a total of $344.5 million worldwide.

 

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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.

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