February 7, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “SpongeBob” Squeezes “Jupiter” & “Seventh Son” Dry


A trio of movie fantasies opened on Friday, and only one survived.  In fact, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (Nickelodeon/Paramount) thrived, outperforming expectations according to preliminary numbers at Deadline with $14.3M on Friday, which should give it $50M+ for the weekend.  That opening day was far better than the $9.6M earned by The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in November 2004, which went on to a $32M weekend and a $85.4M US total.  Since the new movie’s total costs (including worldwide marketing) are about $175M, SpongeBob is well on its way to healthy profit–especially when merchandising and the franchise value for the Nickelodeon network are included.

Things went downhill fast after that.  The Wachowski’s long-postponed JUPITER ASCENDING (Warners/Village Roadshow/RatPack), with a total worldwide cost that may exceed $300M, managed only $6.7M on Friday, and probably won’t reach $20M for the weekend (although if it’s anywhere close, Warners may claim that it did).  Without enormous international overperformance, Jupiter will be another expensive flop for the Wachowskis, after Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas.

Even worse was SEVENTH SON (Legendary/Universal), with a pathetic $2.3M on Friday that may not get it to $7M for the weekend.  With marketing costs included, Seventh Son cost over $200M, and Legendary has already taken a writedown of $85M on those costs, which may turn out to be optimistic.  (Under Legendary’s deal with Universal, the production company reportedly put up not just the budget but the marketing costs here, with Universal acting as a distributor for hire and collecting a fee for its services.  On films originated by Universal, like the upcoming Jurassic World, Legendary puts up a portion of the production costs and has a piece of the action.)  The film has already completed most of its international release, and its $82M overseas total won’t mean much if Seventh Son can’t clear $20M in its entire US run, which appears to be likely.

Holdovers were dominated once again by AMERICAN SNIPER (Warners), down just 38% from last Friday to $6M.  It’s likely to hit $22M for the weekend, which will put it within reach of a $300M+ US total.  (Note:  because of Super Bowl Sunday, all weekend-to-weekend comparisons this week will look healthier than usual.)

The arrival of SpongeBob didn’t hurt PADDINGTON (Weinstein) too badly, down 42% from last Friday to $1.1M, and heading for a $5M weekend that will leave it at a tidy $57M in the US.  The second Friday of PROJECT ALMANAC (Paramount) fell 52% to $1.5M, also headed for a $5M weekend.  It won’t do much more than $25M in the US, and even on a comparatively low budget, that’s an unimpressive result.  BLACK OR WHITE (Relativity), with its older crowd, held up better, down 41% from last Friday to $1.3M with a $4.5M weekend ahead, but it too isn’t likely to get much higher than $25M (and it has lower foreign potential than Project Almanac).  THE WEDDING RINGER (Screen Gems/Sony) is  holding very nicely, down 32% from last Friday to $1.3M on its way to a $4.5M weekend and a US total that may hit $65M. THE BOY NEXT DOOR (Blumhouse/Universal) dropped 45% to $1.2M on Friday, for a $4M weekend and an OK $35-40M US total ahead.  THE LOFT (Open Road) didn’t crack the day’s Top 10, so its (clearly low) results are forthcoming.

Oscar contenders were led by THE IMITATION GAME (Weinstein), slipping just 21% from last Friday to $1.3M.  It should pull in another $4.5M for the weekend, which will put it at nearly $75M.  Whatever happens in 2 weeks, it’s been a tremendous success for the studio and its producers.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."