B.O. Roundup, February 27- March 1: 'Focus' is 1st, 'Fifty Shades' Goes Limp

Sunday, 01 March 2015 12:15 Written by  iamrogue
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B.O. Roundup, February 27- March 1: 'Focus' is 1st, 'Fifty Shades' Goes Limp

It may not have be a full-blown Big Willie Weekend,* but Will Smith is back atop the box office heap.

Focus, in which Smith stars alongside Margot Robbie, opened at number one as Fifty Shades of Grey tumbled and The Lazarus Effect showed that, even in the wake of the Oscars, there's always an audience for old school scares.

The last time Smith starred in February fare, it was a decade ago when Hitch opened to $43 million in 2005 dollars.  Ten years later, Focus debuted to an estimated haul of $19.1 million from 3,323 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. 

That's more than enough to give the star his first number one opening since Men in Black 3 in 2012 and prove he can still put butts in seats, particularly when paired with up Robbie, his costar in next year's Suicide Squad.  At the same time, Warner Bros. was projecting a $22 million weekend for Focus, so it's not exactly a resounding victory.

Focus, and every other movie in theaters for that matter, has a good excuse for more modest its more modest showing, though: inclement weather.  Since the East Coast has spent the last few weeks frozen Captain America-style in a giant block of ice, moviegoers have been less likely to actually go to the movies.

The glacial conditions in much of the country also impacted The Lazarus Effect, a slick horror tale from Relativity Media and the low-budget, high-impact thriller specialists at Blumhouse Productions.  Benefiting from an usually strong ensemble (Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover, Evan Peters), The Lazarus Effect collected $10.6 million, according to current estimates.  That's nothing to sneeze at for a genre movie with a budget under $5 million.

Speaking of nothing to sneeze at, The Lazarus Effect scored an outstanding per-theater average; playing in 2,666 locations, the paranormal thriller averaged $3,976 each.  That's better per-theater average than Kingsman: The Secret Service, which has proven resilient and long-legged at the box office, and bona fide pop-culture phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey.

Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele slapped and smouldered out of first place in their third weekend in theaters, bringing their domestic haul to a whopping $147.7 million.  Fifty Shades of Grey is a massive hit worldwide, too, as its North American earnings represent just 30% of a $486.1 million global total.

Here, take a peek at the domestic top ten right here, paying particular attention to the continued strong performance of a certain spongy fellow who wears square pants:

1. Focus....................................................................................................$19.1 million...............New Release

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service...........................................................$11.7 million...............$85.6 million

3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water..................................$11.2 million...............$140.3 million

4. Fifty Shades of Grey...........................................................................$10.9 million...............$147.7 million

5. The Lazarus Effect..............................................................................$10.6 million...............New Release

6. McFarland, USA...................................................................................$7.7 million.................$21.9 million

7. American Sniper..................................................................................$7.7 million.................$331.8 million

8. The DUFF..............................................................................................$7.1 million.................$20.0 million

9. Still Alice..............................................................................................$2.6 million.................$11.9 million

10. Hot Tub Time Machine 2...................................................................$2.4 million.................$10.2 million

Come Friday, a trio of wildly different new releases will have entered the box office fray: Neill Blomkamp's scifi actioner Chappie, R-rated raunchy comedy Unfinished Business, and sequel-to-a-sleeper-hit The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

*Smith discussed how his last starring vehicle's commercial performance impacted him during a recent IAR interview promoting Focus.

"After the failure of After Earth, a thing got broken in my mind," he said. "I was like, 'Oh, wow, I’m still alive. Actually, I still am me, even though the movie didn’t open at number one. Wait, I can still get hired on another movie.' In my mind, my entire, Mr. July, Big Willie Weekend, number one for eight in a row all collapsed, and I realized that I still was a good person."

"So, when I went into Focus, I completely released the concept of goal orientation and got into path orientation, with this moment, this second, these people, this interaction. It is a huge relief for me to not care whether or not Focus is number one or number ten at the box office. I’ve already gained everything that I could possibly have hoped for, from meeting the people that I met and from the creation of what we did together."

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