World Box Office Feb 23-March 1
Con-artist comedy Focus starring Will Smith finally managed to unseat Fifty Shades of Grey, though its $19.2 opening is less then stellar for a film led by a star of Smith’s caliber. A return in this range is out of the ordinary for an Actor with an extensive portfolio of launches of over $50 million, the best of which, 2007’s I Am Legend, reached $77 million in its first weekend. Coming on the tail of 2013 bomb After Earth, Smith’s declining stock follows the recent trend of diminishing star power in Hollywood. This pattern is most readily exemplified by Johnny Depp, who has gone from consistently fronting pictures that opened over $100 million to leading three straight flops in The Lone Ranger, Transcendence, and the spectacular bomb Mortdecai, which opened to just $4.2 million in January. Focus failed to make up ground overseas, taking just $12.2 million from 31 territories and finishing a middling 6th on the international chart.
Second place on the domestic table went to Kingsman: The Secret Service, which showed strong legs to earn $11.7 million in its third run. This puts it just 35% off of last weekend’s figure. After three frames, its domestic total stands at $85.6 million. This success was also reflected abroad, where it finished second overall with a $25.8 million take in 69 territories. Part of this came from a $5.1 million showing in South Korea, where it moved into first and reached a spectacular local cume of $25.4 million. $1.75 million came from its Mexican debut, while launches in Spain and Italy were good for $1.36 million and $1.2 million respectively. Kingsman’s international total is now $124.6 million, while the cumulative figure is currently $210.2 million. Still overseas, Fifty Shades of Grey took $36 million and ended up first for the third frame in a row. After two previous runs grossing over $100 million each, Universal’s much debated erotic thriller now stands at an international cumulative of $333.8 million, and has already passed the studio’s next biggest R-rated film, Ted, which concluded its international showing with $332.4 million. It tacked on another $10.9 million at the domestic box office, where it slid into fourth. To date this film has reached a cumulative of $486 million and looks set to cross the half-billion mark in a matter of days.
In other news from overseas, the Chinese box office for the month of February showed revenues of $650 million, against the $640 million generated in the United States. For the first time ever, in other words, China was number one, with over $100 million generated by From Vegas to Macau II, starring Chow Yun-Fat, and $95 million by Dragon Blade, starring Jackie Chan along with John Cusack and Adrien Brody.
Back on the domestic chart, newcomer The Lazarus Effect made a very respectable $10.6 million from its debut run. Low-budget horror masters Blumhouse Productions once again transformed a shoestring budgeted pic into a financial success after having invested just $5 million in the film’s production. The inclusion of Olivia Wilde and Donald Glover in this pint-sized project must have a lot to do with its laudable margins.
As usual, the Oscars had a positive effect on box office revenues around the world. Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Cinematography winner Birdman took full advantage of its accolades and boosted revenues by 125% domestically compared to last weekend, netting $1.98 million in North America. Overseas it earned $5.8 million, bringing its international total to $46 million. Overall, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu has taken $86.3 million from a shooting budget of just $16.5 million.
Despite picking up just one technical award for sound editing American Sniper made the most of its Oscar presence, adding $27.2 million worldwide to finish fourth on the combined domestic and international chart. It now has cumulative earnings of $470.2 million worldwide and is also on track to pass the half-billion mark.
Best Actress winner Julianne Moore’s Still Alice beat its previous take by $550 thousand as it made $2.7 million in domestic theatres, while Actor winner Eddie Redmayne’s The Theory of Everything shot up 17% for a $650 thousand take at the U.S. box office.
Next weekend we’ll see the release of Chappie, from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, as well as raunchy comedy Unfinished Business and the U.S. opening of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which has already made $9.4 million in the UK, Australia and