Fifty Shades of Box Office Glory
By John Hamann
February 15, 2015
Finishing a very respectful second is Kingsman: The Secret Service, a project that was based on a comic book instead of a book. The 20th Century Fox release starring Colin Firth, Sam Jackson, Michael Caine and Mark Hamill (!), got off to a strong start, pulling in $10.5 million on its opening day. From Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass), Kingsman is an R-rated flick due to Vaughn’s love of ultra-violence (see: Kick-Ass). Kingsman burned brightly, benefitting from President’s Day and Valentine’s Day, as it was able to turn in a weekend gross of $35.6 million from 3,204 venues. Anything over $28.6 million put it into the top 10 of President’s Day earners.
Kingman: The Secret Service was the exact opposite of Fifty Shades of Grey. It was aimed at men instead of women, is violent versus erotic, and critics and audiences thought it was good instead of bad. At RottenTomatoes, Kingsman is 71% fresh, with many reviewers repeating the same word - fun. Audiences found the fun as well, as the Cinemascore came in at B+. Made for $81 million, Kingsman may have cost twice as much as Fifty Shades, but it should have much better legs. It will also play very well outside of North America, and has picked up over $20 million overseas so far. Save for X-Men, Kingsman is the biggest opening of Vaughn's career, whether as a producer, director or writer. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with next.
Third spot goes to SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water, which rounds out the big three. After debuting to a huge $55.4 million last weekend, continuing that pace over the weekend was going to be difficult. It fell behind American Sniper on Thursday, which showed how young this one was playing, and settled for a Friday gross of $6.5 million, more than 50% behind its opening day. However, with the President’s Day weekend, Sunday acts like a Saturday, so it was able to come back somewhat, earning $30.5 million for the weekend. While off 45%, it was able to bring its 10-day domestic gross up to a powerful $93.7 million against a $74 million budget. Overseas, SpongeBob has also picked up $46 million, so it is in a very good position moving forward. This one should make $150 million domestic and then will need only $75 million overseas to find a theatrical profit for Nickelodeon and Paramount.
American Sniper drops to fourth with a gross of $16.4 million and a decline of 29%. Considering R-rated releases are taking up 6,850 new screens this weekend, we knew that American Sniper was going to be targeted. Add to the equation that this one has already pulled in $300 million further complicates any chances at a hold in its fifth weekend of wide release. Nonetheless, it continues to play strong for North American audiences. So far, Sniper has earned $304.1 million domestic and another $85 million overseas.
Fifth is Jupiter Ascending, which has the rug pulled out from under it. After an $18.4 million flop debut against its $175+ million budget, Jupiter crumbled, falling 49% and earning only $9.4 million. That is likely the last nail in the coffin for the project from the Wachowskis, as overseas revenue is not going to be able to bail this one out. Jupiter Ascending has a domestic gross so far of $32.6 million and has picked up another $59 million overseas.