Weekend Wrap-Up

Box Office Lacks Focus; Low Point for 2015

By John Hamann

March 1, 2015

Thank goodness February is over, am I right?

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McFarland, USA drops to sixth place debuting in fourth last weekend. McFarland, USA earned another $7.8 million this weekend, dropping a terrific 29%. This one was made for $17 million, and while it has beat its budget with a gross so far of $22 million, it still has work to do to earn those marketing costs back, as this one is not going to play away from home.

Seventh is American Sniper, which won only a sound editing Oscar despite having eight nominations and more box office earnings than the rest of the field combined. This weekend, Sniper earned another $7.7 million and fell 23% despite losing 300+ screens. The $60 million film has now rung up $331.1 million stateside, and has another $100 million plus from overseas audiences.

The DUFF is eighth this weekend. With a sophomore score of $7.2 million and a decline of 34%, it's holding up decently. Since The DUFF cost only $8.5 million to make, it will finish quite well domestically. Its current total is $20 million and although overseas revenue will be tough to come by, it's going to bring in great home video revenue.

Still Alice moves up to ninth, as Sony Classics adds another batch of screens to this little scrapper. After a Best Actress Oscar and a widening of release, Still Alice racked up $2.7 million, up 24% compared to last weekend. Made for $5 million, Sony Classics has turned this one into a real winner, as it has a gross to date of $12 million and given the subject matter, it can literally play anywhere.


Tenth is Hot Tub Time Machine 2, last weekend’s car accident. This attempt at comedy earned $2.4 million, which gives it a drop of 60% versus last weekend’s opening take of $6 million. Made for $14 million, this Paramount loser has a gross to date of $10.3 million.

For Oscar oriented films, the big winner - Birdman – despite being out on home video – still managed to earn $2 million, up 125% compared to last weekend. The Imitation Game, which only won one Oscar, went the other way, dropping 24% and earning only $1.9 million. Both films are box office winners, as Birdman cost $18 million to make and has a worldwide gross approaching $80 million, and The Imitation Game has earned $180 million worldwide against a $14 million budget.

Overall this weekend, the box office takes a bit of a dip, but leaves things wide open for some big releases coming over the next two weekends. With Focus on top, the top 12 films earned only $93.4 million, which doesn’t compare well with last year’s top 12 haul of $107.5 million, when Non-Stop was on top. Next weekend, three potentially big films debut. Chappie, from Neil Blomkamp and starring Hugh Jackman opens, as does The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (one of my favorite sequel titles ever), as well as Unfinished Business with Vince Vaughn, a title where I have actually laughed at the trailer. The following weekend brings a live action Cinderella to the ball, along with Liam Neeson in Run All Night.

Top Weekend Box Office for 2/27/15-3/1/15 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 Focus Paramount Classics $19,100,000 New $19,100,000
2 Kingsman: the Secret Service Fox $11,750,000 - 36% $85,695,700
3 The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Paramount $11,200,000 - 32% $140,322,000
4 Fifty Shades of Grey Universal $10,927,090 - 51% $147,763,680
5 The Lazarus Effect Lionsgate $10,600,000 New $10,600,000
6 Mcfarland, Usa Disney $7,797,000 - 29% $21,981,000
7 American Sniper WARNER BROS. $7,700,000 - 23% $331,108,000
8 The Duff Lionsgate $7,150,000 - 34% $20,052,975
9 Still Alice Sony Classics $2,694,757 + 24% $11,983,799
10 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Paramount $2,400,000 - 60% $10,268,000
11 Jupiter Ascending WARNER BROS. $2,100,000 - 45% $43,111,000
12 Birdman FOX SEARCHLIGHT $1,975,000 + 125% $40,279,200
  Also Opening/Notables
  A La Mala Lionsgate $1,440,000 New $1,440,000
  Maps to the Stars $139,000 New $139,000
  '71 Roadside Attractions $55,000 New $55,000
  Deli Man Cohen Media $35,868 New $35,868
  Wild Tales Sony Classics $108,980 + 32% $364,459
  What We Do In the Shadows Paladin/unison $262,890 + 105% $536,505
  Paddington Weinstein Co. $1,778,000 - 27% $7,011,619
  The Imitation Game Weinstein Co. $1,927,000 - 24% $86,829,345
  The Theory of Everything Focus Features $649,000 + 17% $35,049,528
  Whiplash Sony Classics $677,249 + 19% $12,264,551
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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