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Still, the film adaptation of EL James‘ S&M-laced romance novel has nothing to be embarrassed about. Fifty Shades easily stayed No. 1 everywhere as it raced past the $400 million mark globally, an enviable feat. Domestically, the $40 million film earned $23.2 million for a 10-day total of $130.1 million.
Overseas, Fifty Shades is far more of a powerhouse, declining 57 percent to $68.1 million for a whopping international total of $280.5 million. The movie remained No. 1 in 50 markets.
Everyone was expecting a big falloff in the U.S., considering Fifty Shades‘ record-breaking $85 million debut over Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend, although it declined more than other female-fueled properties based on a book (as an example, The Fault in Our Stars fell 70 percent). Fifty Shades ranks roughly No. 35 on the list of biggest declines.
Fifty Shades, along with holdovers Kingsman: The Secret Service and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, fended off a trio of new offerings at the domestic box office — Hot Tub Time Machine 2, teen comedy The DUFF and the inspirational sports drama McFarland, USA, starring Kevin Costner.
Generally speaking, moviegoing will slow substantially Sunday because of the Academy Awards ceremony. Another factor hurting films across the board this weekend was more bad weather on the East Coast, as well as in the Midwest and the Southeast.
Matthew Vaughn‘s cheeky British spy film Kingsman stayed No. 2 in its second weekend, falling 52 percent to $17.5 million for a domestic total of $67.1 million. The Fox film earned another $33 million overseas from 54 markets for a foreign total of $86.6 million and global cume of $153.7 million. Kingsman is soaring in South Korea, where it has already earned $8.9 million to become the top-grossing R-rated foreign title of all time, surpassing all James Bond titles in only two weeks (the movie has been described as Kick-Ass-meets-Bond).
Paramount’s Sponge Out of Water, now in its third weekend, claimed the No. 3 spot in North America with $15.5 million for a domestic cume of $125.2 million. Overseas, the family film took in another $21 million from 44 markets for a foreign total of $76 million and worldwide cume of $191.2 million.
McFarland, an inspirational sports pic going after families, fared the best of the three new films, narrowly edging out The DUFF with $11.3 million. The movie, nabbing an A CinemaScore, stars Costner as Jim White, the real-life coach who teamed with underdog kids to build a championship cross-country team at McFarland High School, a predominately Hispanic school in McFarland, Calif.
The Disney film, with a $25 million production budget, was originally supposed to open in November. Directed by Niki Caro, McFarland also stars Carlos Pratts, Valente Rodriguez, Maria Bello and Morgan Saylor.
One of the surprises of the weekend was teen comedy The DUFF, which outperformed expectations with $11 million, thanks to girls. Females made up 75 percent of ticket buyers; 68 percent were under the age of 25, while 48 percent were under the age of 18.
The DUFF, costing only $8.5 million to make, marks a fortuitous start for CBS Films and Lionsgate’s new distribution and marketing partnership. Mae Whitman (Parenthood) stars as Bianca, who makes herself over after learning she’s the “designated ugly fat friend” of two girls who are more popular. The ensemble cast also includes Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Bianca A. Santos and Skyler Samuels.
“It shows that if you make something that the female audience wants to see, they really do show up,” said CBS Films president Terry Press, who made The DUFF.
From Paramount and MGM, Hot Tub Time Machine is the weekend’s big disappointment. Based on tracking it was expected to earn in the midteens, but grossed $5.8 million after earning a C- CinemaScore, putting it at No. 7. The good news is that the male-fueled pic cost $14 million to make.
Director Steve Pink‘s Hot Tub sequel, opening nearly five years after the first film debuted to $14 million, returns most of the original cast, including Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke and Chevy Chase, though no John Cusack. Adam Scott appears as a new castmember. This time out, the crew inadvertently land in the future.
“Shockingly cold weather doesn’t help a movie that needs late-night play. That’s where the core of its business should come from, but ticket sales just stopped at 6 p.m. in some parts of the country,” said Paramount president of worldwide distribution and marketing Megan Colligan.
At the specialty box office, Sony Pictures Classics opened the Oscar-nominated Wild Tales in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The dark comedy, from Argentina, is nominated for best foreign-language film and earned a pleasing $85,131 for a screen average of $21,283, the best of the weekend.
Among Oscar best picture contenders, American Sniper crossed the $400 million mark worldwide, placing No. 6 domestically with $9.7 million for a domestic total of $319.6 million, by far the best gross of any title up for the top prize. Overseas, Clint Eastwood‘s movie earned $20.5 million from 55 markets for a foreign cume of $108.5 million and global total of $428.1 million. For a war film with pro-U.S. themes, Sniper has done well internationally.
American Sniper opened in France to a sizeable $6.1 million, the biggest debut ever for an Eastwood title (he’s an icon in France). Sniper also marked Eastwood’s biggest opening in Spain ($3.3 million), Mexico ($2.6 million) and Brazil ($1.8) million.
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: SPONGE OUT OF WATER
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2
THE IMITATION GAME
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival