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By Daniel Garris

Universal's Fifty Shades of Grey held onto first place at the box office this weekend with $22.26 million. However, the successful romantic drama was down a massive 74 percent from last weekend's three-day debut. Initial front-loading driven by the film's pre-existing fanbase and Valentine's Day along with mixed word of mouth and poor critical reviews are all having an effect on the film. Fifty Shades of Grey held up well during the midweek, so it is likely the film will perform relatively stronger on weekdays than during the weekend going forward. In the bigger picture, Fifty Shades of Grey is still performing very well and continues to run towards the higher end of expectations with $129.16 million through ten days. That places the film a very impressive 49 percent ahead of the $86.93 million ten-day take of 2010's Valentine's Day (which fell 70 percent in its second weekend to gross $16.67 million).

Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service took in $18.35 million to remain in second place. The Matthew Vaughn directed graphic novel adaptation starring Colin Firth was down 49 percent from last weekend. That represented a very respectable second weekend hold, especially with last weekend's debut having been inflated a bit by the dual-holiday weekend. Kingsman continues to exceed expectations with a healthy $67.93 million in its first ten days of release. The film is currently running 56 percent ahead of the $43.52 million ten-day gross of 2010's Red.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water held steady in third with $16.57 million. That represented a 47 percent decline from the previous frame. While The SpongeBob Movie has been relatively front-loaded for a family film so far, the film continues to exceed expectations in a very big way with $126.25 million through 17 days. That places The SpongeBob Movie 37 percent ahead of the $92.34 million 17-day take of 2011's Rango. With no new family films entering the marketplace each of the next two weeks, The SpongeBob Movie could still stabilize going forward.

Disney's McFarland, USA led this weekend's openers with a fourth place debut of $11.02 million. The well received sports drama starring Kevin Costner opened on the high end of expectations. McFarland, USA opened 13 percent ahead of the $9.78 million start of last year's Draft Day.

McFarland, USA opened with $3.63 million on Friday, increased 25 percent on Saturday to gross $4.55 million and declined 38 percent on Sunday to take in $2.84 million. That gave the film a promising opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.03 to 1. McFarland, USA also received a promising A rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for the film was evenly split between genders and skewed heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (70 percent).

The DUFF followed closely behind in fifth place with $10.81 million. The PG-13 comedy from CBS Films and Lionsgate exceeded pre-release expectations and was helped out this weekend by relatively high levels of online buzz. The DUFF opened 21 percent stronger than the $8.93 million start of last year's That Awkward Moment.

The DUFF opened with $4.29 million on Friday, was down 1 percent on Saturday with $4.26 million and declined 47 percent on Sunday to gross $2.27 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.52 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (75 percent) and moviegoers under the age of 25 (68 percent). With an encouraging A- rating on CinemaScore and no real new direct competition until Cinderella and Insurgent open in March, The DUFF has a good chance of holding up nicely going forward.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 stumbled out of the gates this weekend with a seventh place debut of $5.96 million. The R-rated comedy sequel from Paramount opened below pre-release expectations and 57.5 percent below the $14.02 million start of 2010's Hot Tub Time Machine. Clearly Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a sequel that audiences weren't excited about.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opened with $2.30 million on Friday, decreased 5 percent on Saturday to take in $2.19 million and declined 33 percent on Sunday to gross $1.47 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.59 to 1. Going forward Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is unlikely to hold up as well as its predecessor did, especially after receiving a lackluster C- rating on CinemaScore.

Warner's American Sniper continued to have a presence at the box office with a sixth place take of $10.05 million. The blockbuster Clint Eastwood directed Best Picture nominee starring Bradley Cooper was down a very solid 39 percent. American Sniper has grossed $320.01 million after 38 days of wide release and continues to march closer to becoming the highest grossing release of 2014 domestically (a mark which is currently held by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 with $336.41 million).

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Basingstoke - Sony Digital Cinema has confirmed a ground-breaking initiative with the National Theatre and Vue Entertainment International to screen four National Theatre Live stage productions in detail-packed 4K Ultra High Definition.

A landmark in ‘Event Cinema', this unique three-way partnership represents the first agreement of its kind between a leading cultural brand, a cinema chain and an electronics manufacturer.

Over the next year, audiences at Vue Cinemas across the country will be able to enjoy a world-class theatrical experience without travelling far from home. The four shows will be captured with Sony cameras at 4K resolution, with four times the detail of ordinary Full HD television broadcasts.

During the 12-month tie-up, Vue customers at its 83 sites across the country will exclusively be able to enjoy the productions projected in 4K - the highest quality currently possible with commercial digital cinema projection.

Beautiful forever: 4K shines over celluloid
First fruit of the new partnership is the NT's acclaimed production of David Hare's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on the book by Katherine Boo, directed by Rufus Norris and starring Meera Syal.

Captured in 4K using Sony's F55 cameras, the recorded performance will be distributed to Vue Cinemas as a 4K DCP (Digital Cinema Package). Stored on a hard drive or transmitted securely by satellite, this high-resolution ‘digital print' replaces bulky reels of celluloid film that were formerly used for movie distribution to cinemas.
It's anticipated that National Theatre Live, Sony and Vue Entertainment International will push the boundaries of event cinema even further with other technical innovations during the course of the 12-month agreement, including live 4K capture and transmission of future productions.
"National Theatre Live continually aims to push the boundaries and ensure we're at the cutting edge" remarks Emma Keith, Producer of National Theatre Live. "By partnering with Sony and Vue Entertainment International and enabling our audiences to experience our broadcasts in 4K Ultra High Definition we're ensuring the best quality experience."

Fresh experiences: leading the way in Live Event Cinema
On February 27th 2014, National Theatre Live (NT Live) broadcast War Horse live from the New London Theatre to cinemas across the world. The performance was captured using Sony F55 cameras and projected using a Sony 4K projector, ensuring cinema-goers enjoyed the best possible 4K viewing experience. The recording was subsequently made available as a 4K DCP, allowing 4K enabled cinemas to also show encore screenings. 36 Vue Cinemas in the UK screened the theatrical production on Sony 4K projectors throughout March 2014. In total, the broadcast attracted an audience of almost 400,000 people watching War Horse from around the world.

In August 2014, Sony cameras were used to capture the summer's footballing action in Brazil, with images from FIFA World CupTM Final beamed live in 4K to fans at Vue's prestigious Westfield multiplex in London. Vue Entertainment International has been a trailblazer in the switch to digital projection, with all its 755 screens in the UK now converted to 4K digital projection with the help of Sony.

"At Vue we're constantly innovating with new ways to bring customers experiences that stand out from the ordinary", comments Kevin Styles, UK & Ireland MD, Vue Entertainment International. "Event Cinema is an incredibly important facet of our offering that's attracting brand-new audiences to cinemas. Our auditoriums are the perfect environment to enjoy world-class artistic and cultural events in comfort - and naturally projected in Sony 4K for the finest picture quality."

With a unique capability extending from live production to digital projection, Sony is a key player in the growing Event Cinema market. From sports, opera and music to alternative comedy and high-profile public events, Event Cinema lets exhibitors expand their offering beyond traditional feature films and represents an increasingly important slice of box office receipts.

"If there's a medium that's naturally suited to the immersive detail and realism of 4K, it's got to be live theatre", says David McIntosh, Vice President, Sony Digital Cinema 4K Solutions for Europe and the Americas.
"Cinema Projection in 4K, delivers the best possible image quality which enhances the event cinema experience so that the performance can be enjoyed whether you are in the live theatre or watching in a cinema. We're hugely excited to be working with both the National Theatre and Vue Entertainment International on this project that promises to redefine the boundaries of event cinema with extraordinary new viewing experiences."

 

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By Alex Edghill

Monday Morning Update: Star Wars: The Force Returns rode much of the spoiler buzz surrounding its plot to the top spot on this past week with just over 60,000 new likes. Numerous stories have leaked online containing rumored plot details for the tightly guarded film, prompting J.J Abrams himself to come forward and say that many of the rumors were both false and true but that he appreciated the enthusiasm from its loyal fanbase. With one of the most fervent fanboys of any franchise Star Wars appears to be set to break all sorts of records on release which the only real question mark seeming to be whether it can topple Avengers: Age Of Ultron as the top grossing film of 2015.   

Furious 7, Minions and Cinderella all had about average churn on the week giving them modest bumps upwards. Furious and Minions are already forgone top 10 hits for 2015 in my head but Cinderella has a few more questions surrounding it. The cast are hardly box office draws, who are better known for their TV performances, but then you include the fact that Cinderella is one of the most beloved fairy tales of all time and that the last big production dealing with princesses was kind of a big deal, Frozen. Course this isn't animated, and it might have a tough time connecting with some younger children, but I believe there is still merit in the comparison. I'm still on the fence with whether it is $100 million material or $250 million material but the marketing push and social media response has been impressive and I think this could be one of the big breakout stories of the year. Looking specifically at Facebook it has seen a 1 million like increase since its first trailer in November of last year. That is a huge number, especially for a family friendly film. This is one to watch which may surprise people come opening weekend.

Chappie tacked on a few more likes, enough to get it into the top 5 for the first time. The film has largely flown under the radar of many but with its release looming and marketing kicking into high gear it is starting to turn more heads. Director Neil Blomkamp has proven himself to be a master of the whole mech-warrior / alien genre in District 9 and Elysium and Chappie looks like another solid entry into the sci-fi genre for the South African. Elysium had 364,618 likes by the day it was released which looks reachable for Chappie which should also enjoy a similar box office fortune if all goes well ($286 million worldwide gross).

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

Release Movie Likes Previous Change % Change
12/18/15 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 13,466,416 13,406,311 60,105 0.45%
04/03/15 Furious 7 54,894,859 54,841,186 53,673 0.10%
07/10/15 Minions 29,038,509 28,988,780 49,729 0.17%
03/13/15 Cinderella (2015) 13,590,779 13,548,290 42,489 0.31%
03/06/15 Chappie 194,854 158,788 36,066 22.71%

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

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Fifty Shades of Grey remained as the top film overseas for a second consecutive weekend after grossing $68.1 million at 10,794 dates in 58 territories. The weekend performance lifts the film past the $400 million worldwide in only its second weekend; Fifty Shades has already collected $280.5 million overseas and is up to $410.6 million globally with four more territories left on its schedule.

Kingsman: The Secret Service brought in $33 million from 5,964 screens in 54 markets. The film has now grossed $86.6 million overseas and $153.7 million worldwide.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water keeps earning big overseas. The film opened in 15 new territories this weekend and brought in $21.9 million from 6,562 locations in a total of 44 territories. Germany is the top new market with a $5.3 million bow at 503 sites, enough for second place in the market. France opened in fourth place with a $3 million debut from 634 locations. Spongebob has now grossed a total of $76 million overseas and crosses a major milestone with a $201.1 million global total.
 
American Sniper crossed the $100 million mark overseas this weekend thanks to a $20.5 million performance from 4,300 screens in 55 markets. The film registered the biggest opening weekend for director Clint Eastwood in France with a $6.1 million haul from 411 screens, the top film of the weekend in the market. Eastwood scored the same record in Spain, where American Sniper opened to $3.25 million from 380 screens. Other big opening weekends came from Japan ($2.8M) and Mexico ($2.57M) as the film finished the weekend with a $108.5 million overseas cume. American Sniper has grossed $428.1 million worldwide.

Big Hero 6 grossed $11 million in its latest frame overseas. The film has now brought in a total of $326 million outside of North America and $546.2 million worldwide. Japan continues to be the film's top overseas market with a $72.1 million haul. Big Hero 6 expands to China next weekend.

Jupiter Ascending grossed $8.9 million from 6,200 screens in 66 markets. The Wachowski sci-fi flick has grossed a total of $75 million overseas and $114.5 million worldwide.

Penguins of Madagascar grossed $5.2 million from 1,062 screens in 12 markets. The overseas total climbs up to $276.7 million, while the film has now grossed $359.1 million worldwide.
 
Taken 3
earned $5.1 million from 2,406 screens in 40 markets, hitting the $200 million mark overseas. The thriller has grossed $286.7 million globally.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb added $4.4 million from 1,590 screens in 12 markets. The film has now grossed a total of $229.4 million overseas and $340.9 million globally.
 
The Theory of Everything crossed the $100 million mark worldwide this weekend thanks tot a$2.7 million haul from 46 territories. The biopic has now grossed $70 million overseas and $104.1 million globally.

Birdman added another $2.3 million from 1,163 screens in 24 markets ahead of Oscar weekend. The awards contender has grossed $38.9 million overseas and $76.6 million worldwide. 

 

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Sunday Update: Universal's Fifty Shades of Grey held onto first place at the box office this weekend with an estimated $23.25 million. However, the successful romantic drama was down a massive 73 percent from last weekend's three-day debut. Initial front-loading driven by the film's pre-existing fanbase and Valentine's Day along with mixed word of mouth and poor critical reviews are all having an effect on the film. Fifty Shades of Grey held up well during the midweek, so it is likely the film will perform relatively stronger on weekdays than during the weekend going forward. In the bigger picture, Fifty Shades of Grey is still performing very well and continues to run towards the higher end of expectations with $130.15 million through ten days. That places the film a very impressive 50 percent ahead of the $86.93 million ten-day take of 2010's Valentine's Day (which fell 70 percent in its second weekend to gross $16.67 million).

Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service took in an estimated $17.53 million to remain in second place. The Matthew Vaughn directed graphic novel adaptation starring Colin Firth was down 52 percent from last weekend. That represented a respectable second weekend hold, especially with last weekend's debut having been inflated a bit by the dual-holiday weekend. Kingsman continues to exceed expectations with a healthy $67.11 million in its first ten days of release. The film is currently running 54 percent ahead of the $43.52 million ten-day gross of 2010's Red.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water held steady in third with an estimated $15.5 million. That represented a 51 percent decline from the previous frame. While The SpongeBob Movie has been relatively front-loaded for a family film so far, the film continues to exceed expectations in a very big way with $125.17 million through 17 days. That places The SpongeBob Movie 36 percent ahead of the $92.34 million 17-day take of 2011's Rango. With no new family films entering the marketplace each of the next two weeks, The SpongeBob Movie could still stabilize going forward.

Disney's McFarland, USA led this weekend's openers with an estimated fourth place debut of $11.32M. The well received sports drama starring Kevin Costner opened on the high end of expectations. McFarland, USA opened 16 percent ahead of the $9.78 million start of last year's Draft Day.

McFarland, USA opened with $3.62 million on Friday, increased 25 percent on Saturday to gross $4.53 million and is estimated to decline 30 percent on Sunday to take in $3.16 million. That gives the film a promising estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.12 to 1. McFarland, USA also received a promising A rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for the film was evenly split between genders and skewed heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (70 percent).

The DUFF followed closely behind in fifth place with an estimated $11.03 million. The PG-13 comedy from CBS Films and Lionsgate exceeded pre-release expectations and was helped out this weekend by relatively high levels of online buzz. The DUFF opened 26 percent stronger than the $8.93 million start of last year's That Awkward Moment.

The DUFF opened with $4.28 million on Friday, essentially held even on Saturday with $4.26 million and is estimated to decline 42 percent on Sunday to gross $2.49 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.58 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (75 percent) and moviegoers under the age of 25 (68 percent). With an encouraging A- rating on CinemaScore and no real new direct competition until Cinderella and Insurgent open in March, The DUFF has a good chance of holding up nicely going forward.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 stumbled out of the gates this weekend with a seventh place estimated debut of $5.8 million. The R-rated comedy sequel from Paramount opened below pre-release expectations and 59 percent below the $14.02 million start of 2010's Hot Tub Time Machine. Clearly Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a sequel that audiences weren't excited about.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opened with $2.3 million on Friday, decreased 5 percent on Saturday to take in $2.19 million and is estimated to decline 40 percent on Sunday to gross $1.31 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.52 to 1. Going forward Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is unlikely to hold up as well as its predecessor did, especially after receiving a lackluster C- rating on CinemaScore.

Warner's American Sniper continued to have a presence at the box office with an estimated sixth place take of $9.65 million. The blockbuster Clint Eastwood directed Best Picture nominee starring Bradley Cooper was down a very solid 41 percent. American Sniper has grossed $319.61 million after 38 days of wide release and continues to march closer to becoming the highest grossing release of 2014 domestically (a mark which is currently held by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 with $336.41 million).

Saturday Update: Universal reports that Fifty Shades of Grey easily retained first place on Friday with an estimated $8.0 million, down 74 percent from its massive opening day last week. With $114.9 million in the bank so far, the adaptation is pacing 10 percent ahead of the original Twilight and 51 percent ahead of Valentine's Day. BoxOffice projects a sophomore frame of $24.1 million, easily repeating atop the weekend box office.

Holding onto second place Friday was Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service, off 49 percent from opening day to $5.3 million yesterday. The graphic novel pic has displayed healthy early legs thanks to positive word of mouth and, with $54.9 million totaled so far, leads Jumper by 26 percent and Kick-Ass by 95 percent through the same respective points in release. BoxOffice projects a solid $17.7 million second weekend.

Lionsgate and CBS Films report that The DUFF surprisingly led all newcomers on Friday with an estimated $4.27 million. The sleeper pic notably topped the $3.95 million opening day of last year's That Awkward Moment despite boasting less star power. The studios behind the teen-centric flick successfully generated positive word of mouth through social media outlets after pre-release screenings in select markets, often drawing comparison to the 2004 hit, Mean Girls. DUFF's 73 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and "A-" CinemaScore back that up even further. Some front-loading to Friday could be expected, so BoxOffice is conservatively projecting an $11.1 million opening weekend.

Paramount's The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water added another $4.0 million yesterday, down just 38 percent from last Friday. The sequel has earned an impressive $113.7 million domestically thus far, and its legs continue to showcase strong word of mouth among families. BoxOffice projects the flick will move back into second place for the weekend with an $18.9 million third frame.

Disney's McFarland, USA bowed to $3.62 million yesterday, in line with last year's Draft Day ($3.56 million) and Million Dollar Arm ($3.47 million). The latest Kevin Costner sports drama is performing in line with expectations, and could see healthy legs to come with positive critics' reviews (78 percent) and early audience word of mouth (86 percent). BoxOffice projects a $10.4 million weekend.

American Sniper landed just outside the top five yesterday, easing 27 percent from last Friday to $2.72 million. The film has amassed $312.7 million to-date, and looks to bring in around $9.8 million for the weekend as a whole.

Meanwhile, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 was unable to capitalize on its predecessor's goodwill. The comedy sequel opened to $2.3 million on Friday, less than half of the original's $4.85 million first day five years ago. Unfortunately, reviews (14 percent) and early word of mouth (49 percent) don't suggest the sequel will achieve anywhere near the same cult-like hit status as the first film. BoxOffice projects a disappointing $6.3 million opening weekend for the $14 million-budgeted sequel.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update: Sources tells BoxOffice that Fifty Shades of Grey is headed for $25 million-$26 million during its sophomore frame, which will be more than enough to put in on top of the box office this weekend. Nobody will be surprised by such a steep drop after the film's staggering debut frame. 

None of the three newcomers this week won't crack $15 million. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 leads the bunch, and it's on pace for $12 million-$13 million. McFarland, USA should hit $10 million, while The DUFF is on pace for $8.5 million.

Check back tomorrow for updated projections and official studio numbers.

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