'Focus' Leads Lackluster Weekend with $18.7M; 'The Lazarus Effect' Debuts in Fifth with $10.2MMarch 02, 2015 01:03 PM

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).

Weekend domestic gross

YearWeekendTop 10 GrossChg. LY%Total GrossChg. LY% Top movie of the week
198310 (Mar 11 - Mar 13) - 1983$17,974,0044%$20,822,29920%Tootsie
198510 (Mar 08 - Mar 10) - 1985$25,268,720-5%$26,982,525-7%Witness
198410 (Mar 09 - Mar 11) - 1984$26,724,81049%$29,100,98140%Splash
198610 (Mar 07 - Mar 09) - 1986$28,636,29113%$31,473,86717%Pretty in Pink
198810 (Mar 04 - Mar 06) - 1988$30,181,651-22%$35,343,443-13%Good Morning, Vietnam
198910 (Mar 10 - Mar 12) - 1989$30,953,6923%$38,348,0269%Lean on Me
199410 (Mar 11 - Mar 13) - 1994$34,521,015-12%$47,069,351-4%Guarding Tess
199510 (Mar 10 - Mar 12) - 1995$38,248,25011%$43,343,715-8%Outbreak
198710 (Mar 06 - Mar 08) - 1987$38,645,31535%$40,668,12329%Lethal Weapon
199310 (Mar 05 - Mar 07) - 1993$39,300,066-1%$48,779,3185%Falling Down
199210 (Mar 06 - Mar 08) - 1992$39,853,359-18%$46,581,353-9%Wayne's World
199010 (Mar 09 - Mar 11) - 1990$42,834,84938%$46,570,43621%The Hunt for Red October
199110 (Mar 08 - Mar 10) - 1991$48,607,90713%$51,450,66210%The Silence of the Lambs
200110 (Mar 09 - Mar 11) - 2001$57,064,362-7%$69,401,970-19%The Mexican
200010 (Mar 10 - Mar 12) - 2000$61,089,854-6%$86,153,3235%Mission to Mars
199610 (Mar 08 - Mar 10) - 1996$61,193,79860%$67,634,96656%The Birdcage
199710 (Mar 07 - Mar 09) - 1997$62,954,8153%$79,838,17218%Private Parts
199910 (Mar 05 - Mar 07) - 1999$64,854,292-9%$82,028,8791%Analyze This
199810 (Mar 06 - Mar 08) - 1998$71,119,46513%$81,153,2392%Titanic
200210 (Mar 08 - Mar 10) - 2002$76,549,19134%$90,311,55730%The Time Machine
200810 (Mar 07 - Mar 09) - 2008$86,815,111-36%$106,242,294-30%10,000 B.C.
200610 (Mar 10 - Mar 12) - 2006$88,856,827-12%$109,488,585-5%Failure to Launch
200310 (Mar 07 - Mar 09) - 2003$91,700,92020%$110,269,45222%Bringing Down the House
200910 (Mar 06 - Mar 08) - 2009$97,720,12713%$116,836,45710%Watchmen
200510 (Mar 11 - Mar 13) - 2005$100,652,423-21%$115,545,928-20%Robots
201110 (Mar 11 - Mar 13) - 2011$111,935,077-39%$129,306,019-34%Battle: Los Angeles
201210 (Mar 09 - Mar 11) - 2012$116,009,1454%$136,709,3826%Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
201310 (Mar 08 - Mar 10) - 2013$124,576,1957%$140,634,0423%Oz: The Great and Powerful
201410 (Mar 07 - Mar 09) - 2014$127,539,9552%$143,771,5882%300: Rise of an Empire
200410 (Mar 05 - Mar 07) - 2004$127,655,10539%$144,059,17031%The Passion of the Christ
200710 (Mar 09 - Mar 11) - 2007$135,668,31053%$152,182,18439%300
201010 (Mar 05 - Mar 07) - 2010$182,536,40087%$196,509,76268%Alice in Wonderland (2010)