• Industry

World Box Office Feb 1-7

Sooner or later someone had to dislodge American Sniper from first place, and unlikely as it may seem, the film to accomplish this feat was The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, the second feature (the first one came out in 2004) based on the Nickelodeon animated television series. On its first weekend of domestic release, Spongebob ended up collecting $58 million, an amount considerably higher than what Paramount had anticipated. Actually, this number brings Spongebob into LEGO Movie territory, with a projected domestic haul of $150 million. Also overseas, this time around things are much better: $27 million so far, 11 of which came from Mexico alone and $4 from Brazil.
American Sniper is discharged from the top spot, but it does so with honor. It keeps finding audiences in all demographics and across the political spectrum. And after seven weeks in theaters, it still held to second place, adding another $24 million and pushing its domestic total over $282 million, an amount well beyond Warner Brother’s wildest expectations. Almost as a reminder of the unpredictability of the film business, the same studio just released a production costing close to $200 million, touted to be its first success of 2015: Jupiter Ascending, directed by the siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski, starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis. After many delays, the outlook for the space travel adventure was not so high but a $19 million debut weekend is even more disappointing than foreseen. Jupiter’s domestic run may not make much beyond $40 million and its hope to recoup the considerable investment now rests in the overseas markets, where it did a decent $32.5 million in 65 countries. At the top was Russia, with almost $5 million, followed by France with half as much and Korea with $2 million. And big territories such as China, Australia and Japan are still missing. Another disappointment is Legendary’s Seventh Son, ending its domestic debut weekend just above $7 million. The release of the fantasy starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, reunited for the first time since The Big Lebowski, suffered several delays. It opted to begin its run in foreign territories, where things have been not so bad. It has earned $82 million so far, $26 of which came through China alone who also co-financed the movie through the China Film Group.
Rounding out the domestic top five is Paddington. It had to compete with Spongebob, but it held its turf pretty well adding $5.4 million and is fast approaching its $60 million target. And this, without counting international revenues, in the range of $150 million. Sixth place went to Project Almanac, earning $5.3 million in its second weekend and now stands at a domestic total of close to $16 million.  
Following Jupiter and Spongebob, third place overseas went to Big Hero 6, which opened in Japan with an impressive $66.7 million take which propelled the film over the $500 million mark worldwide. Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 opened in China, where it gathered about $10 million in its opening day. A more than decent number, considering Catching Fire, the previous installment, took in a total of $30 million and that the film starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth has already been heavily pirated for over 3 months. Its total worldwide gross now stands at $736 million worldwide.
Taken 3 added another $11 million, pushing its total worldwide to $270 million, while The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies added $9.7 million and for a worldwide total of $939.3 million. The goal of passing the $1 billion mark will have to wait a little longer.
Next weekend we will see the opening of the much-awaited Fifty Shades of Grey. Hopes are high and it’s safe to assume that the film, based on E.L. James’s bestsellers will help sustain a domestic box office that is already 10% ahead of last year. The next week will see the debut also of Kingsman: the Secret Service, which already opened in a few overseas markets where it has earned, so far, $18 million.
Lorenzo Soria