Fifty Shades Fades to Grey
By John Hamann
February 22, 2015
Third is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. After crossing the $100 million mark on Monday, SpongeBob earned another $15.5 million this weekend, off 51% from last weekend’s frame, when Sunday acted more like a Saturday. The total for the $74 million film has now reached $125.2 million stateside and is approaching the $50 million mark overseas.
Fourth goes to McFarland USA, the new sports themed movie from Disney. Like Remember the Titans and The Rookie, Disney was looking for a decent start for their long distance running movie, but got more of a Million Dollar Arm kind of result. The Kevin Costner flick got started with a weekend take of $11.3 million, a little ahead of the $10.5 million debut for Million Dollar Arm and the $9.8 million opening for Costner’s Draft Day. The good news for McFarland USA is that it did earn an A Cinemascore, and reviews were quite good at 77% fresh at RottenTomatoes, so legs should be in store. With a production cost likely in the $25 million area, McFarland USA is going to need a killer multiplier to find any kind of success, but because Disney has made a good film, this should be a winner long after the theatrical window has closed.
Finishing fifth is The DUFF. The teen movie about the "designated ugly fat friend" resonated with teenagers this weekend, as it did a little bit better than it was supposed to. The DUFF got started with a not-bad $4.3 million on Friday and was able to turn that into a weekend take of $11 million from only 2,575 venues. Made for only $8.5 million, this Lionsgate release is going to be profitable, as this is a good weekend to open low cost, non-adult features, given the two big R-rated releases last weekend. The Cinemascore was fantastic at A-, and even the reviews were decent, with a 62% fresh score at RottenTomatoes. If The Duff can find an opening-to-total multiplier similar to the 4.0 of She’s All That, it will finish as a $50 million winner for Lionsgate.
Sixth goes to top ten stalwart American Sniper, as it spends its fifth weekend of wide release in the top ten. The Oscar nominated war flick earned another $9.7 million this weekend, off a not bad 41% compared to the long weekend. With $319.6 million in the domestic kitty so far, Sniper has joined the top 40 biggest domestic earners of all time. Should it win a couple of Oscars tonight, who knows where it could finish up. If not, Sniper should finish with about $340 million domestic and another $100 million coming from overseas.
Seventh is Hot Tub Time Machine 2, which couldn’t get John Cusack back, and pays for it. The original comedy cost $36 million to make, and opened to $14 million. It went on to earn $50.3 million domestic and another $14.3 million overseas. That was somehow enough to greenlight a sequel at a much lower cost of $14 million, but the new film only opened to $5.8 million, making this a very questionable decision, especially given the scads of advertising. Obviously, someone thought there were more fans of the original than there actually are. The sequel earned a screechingly bad Cinemascore of C- and deplorably bad reviews, coming in at 14% fresh at RottenTomatoes. This was a bad decision from those at Paramount, and we are all just better off moving on.