The box office was revived by a classic princess this weekend, who took full advantage of a weak crop of competitors.
Coming in at #1 this week is Disney's live-action retelling of Cinderella (read our review) with more than $70 million grossed in its first three days. That debut is higher than last year's fairy tale smash, Maleficent ($69.4 million), illustrating that this is a genre still worth investing in. It's no wonder the studio is so keen on adapting their animation library to live-action, with movies like Beauty and the Beast planned in the coming years.
Cinderella's monumental success can probably be attributed to two factors. One, the critical reception was largely positive, as many pundits praised how director Kenneth Branagh brought the story to the modern age while staying true to the spirit of the narrative. Compared to the other films currently playing, it certainly had an edge in that department.
Also, the family-friendly PG rating made it a viable option for families, who have arguably gone underserved at this point in the year. When you add in the international numbers, Cinderella has already made back its budget, meaning this will be an extremely profitable endeavor for the Mouse House.
At #2 this weekend is Run All Night (read our review), which opened with a low $11 million. It may be a sign that the "Liam Neeson with a gun" shtick is getting old, since these numbers are even lower than last year's A Walk Among the Tombstones ($12.7 million), which went down as one of the actor's most recent box office disappointments. It also failed to reach the heights of Neeson's previous collaborations with director Jaume Collet-Serra, who he worked with on modest hits Unknown ($63.6 million) and Non-Stop ($92.1 million).
It also doesn't look like Run All Night will be able to maintain strong legs as it continues its domestic run. The critical consensus is that it's better than Taken 3, but isn't exactly the next action classic. That muddled word-of-mouth will make it difficult for casual moviegoers to give this one a chance in the coming weeks, especially with other genre titles on the horizon. Perhaps it's a good thing Neeson is stepping away from action soon.
The #3 film is Kingsman: The Secret Service, which continues its impressive run with $6.2 million. The spy/comedy has been a strong hold since it opened over a month ago, and has now accumulated $107.3 million domestically in five weeks of release.
Focus comes in at #4 with $5.8 million, which ups its domestic total to $44 million. It is inching towards covering its $50 million budget from U.S. grosses, but has already cleared production costs thanks to its global revenue.
Falling to #5 is last week's champion, Chappie, which made $5.8 million in its second weekend. Though we were more forgiving of Neill Blomkamp's latest than most (read our review), the overall reception has been that this one is worth skipping in theaters. Viewers have followed that advice, as Chappie has made only $23.3 million domestically.
The #6 film is The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, grossing $5.7 million in its second week. The dramedy sequel has amassed $18 million domestically so far.
Coming in at #7 is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, which added an additional $4.1 million. One of the few bright spots in the early going of 2015, the family film has grossed a nice domestic total of $154.6 million.
Kevin Costner's latest inspirational sports drama, McFarland, USA, is the #8 film this week. The true-life based tale made $3.6 million this weekend, increasing its total to $34.9 million.
Coming in at #9 is American Sniper, which grossed $2.9 million this weekend. Recently becoming 2014's highest-grossing film, Clint Eastwood's war drama is now at $341.5 million domestically.
Rounding out the top 10 is The DUFF, grossing $2.9 million. The high school comedy has now made $30.3 million at this point in its run.
[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