Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

February 10, 2015

Another game, another fist bump celebration.

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Kim Hollis: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water opened to a massive $55.4 million. What do you think of this result?

Jay Barney: I’d say much of this opening has to do with the built in generational support and the light number of kids' offerings going back to the holiday season. It has been on television for so long the and brand has been around for a long time. It is strange to think of SpongeBob as a franchise, but with the success of this sequel and the longevity of the cartoon, it is hard to argue with the reality unfolding before us. I’m a firm believer that studios seriously underestimate the potential dollars that could be earned with more quality kids' offerings, and I think that was part of the equation. Strange Magic was released three weeks ago but got little support for a number of reasons. Paddington has done extremely well in the global box office; its success almost proves the point, though. Night at the Museum III and Annie were released just prior to Christmas. That would make just four films, two not even animated, released in the two and a half months leading up to SpongeBob.

As for the opening itself, this is pretty amazing. I was a little surprised at the size of the budget. $74 million isn’t exactly cheap, especially when tracking had the opening in the mid-20s. Compared to the dollars put behind something like Monsters, Inc., Big Hero 6, or even Penguins of Madagascar, it cost much less. It feels strange even writing this, but The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water has given us our second film of the year opening north of $50 million. For the box office, this is pretty special for this early in the year. The LEGO Movie opened very big in 2014. In 2013 no film opened above $50 million until Oz the Great and Powerful did it in early March. In 2012 it wasn’t until The Lorax in March. So I’d say this year’s box office is sizzling.


Felix Quinonez: I think this is a fantastic opening. I've never really seen the big deal about this cartoon and even at, what I thought was, its height, I could never get into it. The first movie opened when the character seemed like more of a cultural icon and didn't even make it to $100 million domestically. Because of this, I found it surprising that they were making another movie, especially after such a long wait. I really thought SpongeBob was past his prime so I was expecting it to open a bit below $30 million but I was obviously wrong. I don't think anyone was realistically expecting Bob to even reach $50 million, so to open at $55 million is stunning. I had no interest in the movie before, but now I'm very curious to see how it holds up.

Michael Lynderey: If you adjust the opening of the first SpongeBob ($32 million), it's not too far off, but this number is still wildly implausible, if not in practice, at least in theory. Are there really more SpongeBob fans now than there were 10 years ago? No ossification of the base at all? The live-action element (which only takes up the last half hour of the film itself) was obviously a big draw here. While I can't much explain the present situation, I can definitely predict the future: we'll get another SpongeBob film, and soon, while, between LEGO and the SpongeBob, this first February weekend is going to become a mainstay for animated films (the way the first weekends of March and November already are). Oh, and I imagine relatively belated sequels such as this is are going to leave development hell a little faster.

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