New releases failed to make any notable impression at the box office, with even the first place totals being noting to write home about.
Coming in at #1 this week is Neill Blomkamp's latest original sci-fi feature, Chappie (read our review). Despite reaching the top of the charts, the film still had a very disappointing debut with just $13.3 million, well below expectations the studio had for it heading into the weekend. Its opening weekend is also considerably less than Blomkamp's Elysium ($29.8 million), which underperformed in the eyes of many.
It's doubtful that Chappie will be able to rebound and prove to be a viable commercial force in the coming weeks. Reviews of the film were largely negative, highlighting issues with the storytelling. Because of that poor word-of-mouth, it's hard to envision a scenario where Chappie displays strong legs and plays well throughout the spring season. Blomkamp desperately needs his Alien film to work now.
The #2 film this week is last week's champion, Focus. The conman drama fell 46.4 percent, a decent hold (especially with the lack of competition), and made more than $10 million this weekend. Currently, its domestic total stands at $34.5 million.
In at #3 is The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which debuted with $8.6 million this weekend. Normally, that's not a particularly noteworthy figure, but for this film it is. The sequel entered theaters with low awareness due to a limited marketing campaign, but Fox Searchlight was still able to get the word out and attract older moviegoers.
Nobody expected Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to become a mainstream hit, so this is a pleasant surprise for the studio. The film posted a strong per theater average, which indicates that it's playing well for its target audience. As we begin to transition to the summer movie season with blockbusters and tentpoles popping up every few weeks, there's a good chance Hotel becomes a nice bit of counter-programming for a specific niche and hold well.
At #4 is Kingsman: The Secret Service, which continues to be one of the few box office success stories in early 2015. Grossing an additional $8.3 million this week, the raunchy spy comedy is now at $98 million domestically - a credit to how positive word-of-mouth can help a film's prospects in this day and age.
Rounding out the top five is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water with $7 million. Business for the family film is slowing down a bit, but with $148.9 million total, Paramount won't be complaining about anything. This film smartly took advantage of a slow period in the release calendar.
The #6 film is Fifty Shades of Grey, which continues its drastic fall down the charts after a stellar opening. The romantic drama made $5.6 million this weekend, upping its domestic total to $156.4 million.
Coming in at #7 is McFarland, USA, which made $5.3 million. Kevin Costner's latest inspirational sports drama is now at $29.4 million domestically.
The Lazarus Effect falls to #8 this week with $5.1 million. That's a 50 percent drop from its debut last weekend, but distributor Relativity won't be sweating the notable decreases anytime soon. Budgeted for a minuscule $3.3 million, Lazarus Effect's $17.4 million domestic total more than covers the production costs, giving the studio a nice profit on their investment.
Teen comedy The DUFF is in at #9 with $4.8 million. It has now made $26.1 million total.
We add to the growing list of horrible bombs this week, as new comedy Unfinished Business (read our review) rounds out the top ten with a paltry $4.8 million, a figure that constitutes as the third worst wide opening weekend of the year. For star Vince Vaughn, it's a continuation of his downward commercial trend, as this film could not best the poor debut of the flop Delivery Man ($7.9 million) from a couple years ago.
Unfinished Business was never seen as the next Hangover or Jump Street in terms of hit R-rated comedies, but surely Fox was hoping for a better opening than this. Extremely negative reviews doomed it from the start, and any interest casual moviegoers might have had just went down as the weekend went on.
Outside the top ten: American Sniper increased its domestic total to $337.2 million, and will finish its run as the highest grossing film of 2014. It passed genre smashes Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 to reach the top spot.
[NOTE: These are only weekend box office estimates - based on Friday and Saturday ticket sales coupled with adjusted expectations for Sunday. Official weekend box office results will be released on Monday, March 9 - at which time we'll update this post with any changes.]
Source: Box Office Mojo