In terms of sheer numbers, this weekend’s box office wasn’t especially impressive. It was fine and Focus opened well, but there weren’t any broken records. There were no incredible signs of a film growing legs and holding on against the odds. However, there was something else worthy of note: three of the top five films at the box office were R-rated, with 50 percent of the top 10 comprised of R-rated films overall. In an age dominated by the PG-13 rating, this is unique and promising. Could studios start to embrace movies made for adults again? Maybe. Who knows? Let’s look at some numbers.

FilmWeekendPer Screen
2Kingsman: The Secret Service$11,750,000 (-36)$3,580$85,695,000
3The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water$11,200,000 (-32)$3,230$140,322,000
450 Shades of Grey$10,927,000 (-51)$3,230$147,763,000
5The Lazarus Effect$10,600,000
6McFarland, USA$7,979,000 (-29)$2,820$21,980,000
7American Sniper$7,700,000 (-23)$2,642$331,108,000
8The DUFF$7,150,000 (-34)$2,727$20,052,000
9Still Alice$2,695,000 (+24)$2,045$11,984,000
10Hot Tub Time Machine 2$2,400,000 (-60)$827$10,267,000


With a $19 million opening weekend, Focus is off to a decent if not particularly overwhelming start. That’s a rough weekend for a movie starring Will Smith, but it’s a great weekend for an R-rated con artist movie, so it kind of balanced out in the end. This is a definite wait-and-see case. If the film picks up positive word of mouth, it could easily power through and gross a respectable $80 million or so. Or it could struggle to hit $50 million. In any case, a lot of Smith’s future decisions may depend on what happens here. If this thing ultimately bombs, it’ll be his second misfire in a row.

In second place, Kingsman: The Secret Service continued to showcase powerful legs, adding $11 million to its total for a current gross of $85 million. That’s especially impressive when you compare it to other blockbusters, which open huge and immediately drop off. Kingsman opened modestly and then continued to pack houses week after week. That’s the sign of a real success and a real crowdpleaser. This thing is a hit beyond hype and it should cross $100 million in less than two weeks.

Speaking of films with endurance, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water continued to be one of the most fiscally impressive films to open in 2015, earning $11 million and crossing $140 million. Although $200 million is probably (maybe) out of the question, the film has already doubled what many prognosticators were expecting it to make overall. Never doubt the power of a family movie that also appeals to the stoners who grew up watching the show on which it is based.

And that brings us to fourth place with 50 Shades of Grey, which continued to fizzle following its disastrous second weekend. After all of the hype and that massive opening, the controversial adaptation of the controversial book is only a few million ahead of SpongeBob. As we predicted last week, it won’t come close to $200 million and will ultimately make less money than an animated sea sponge. Ouch. The film is already profitable and the sequel will get made, but this kind of front-loaded business is not a good sign when it comes to actual audience satisfaction.

The final new release of the weekend, the horror film The Lazarus Effect, opened with $10 million, a number that isn’t terrible for a low budget effort like this but also doesn’t bode well for the film’s future. Horror movies live and die based on their opening three days, so while the film may ultimately be profitable, it’s not going to be The Purge or Paranormal Activity.

The back half of the top 10 also holds its fair share of interesting tidbits. Despite their weak openings, both McFarland, USA and The DUFF took minor percentage drops, which doesn’t promise strong legs in the weeks ahead, but it does keep them from being flops, which is nice. Meanwhile, American Sniper officially became the highest grossing film released in 2014 and Still Alice rode its Oscar momentum to its first appearance in the top 10. And finally, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 finished bombing, dropping an embarrassing 60 percent. It will be lucky if it grosses $15 million.

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