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Weekend Box Office: SpongeBob Soaks Up Win While Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son Drown

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By Chris Kavan - 02/08/15 at 11:29 PM CT

After American Sniper's January dominance, the box office finally has a new champion. The overall box office hit $139.3 million - roughly the same total as last year. It was a weekend dominated by a family-friendly film - but it also meant that two high-profile films that were both delayed suffered some serious audience blowback and joined Blackhat and Mortdecai as disappointing 2015 offerings. Expect the Valentine's Day box office to heat up greatly - and maybe even set some records.

1) THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER

Even though SpongeBob Squarepants may have hit its peak about 10 years ago (about the same time the first animated movie hit theaters, in fact), apparently there was plenty of pent-up demand, or bored parents, looking to give it a shot. Sponge Out of Water easily took the top spot with an impressive $56 million opening. That easily topped the original SpongeBob's $32 million debut and was the fifth-best opening for February. While it couldn't quite match the February debut of The LEGO Movie (at just over $69 million), it was still a fantastic opening. Thanks the mix of traditional animation and some CGI in the "real" world, the marketing brought in audiences who remember the original, and brand new fans alike. The audience was 53% male and 60% under 25. They awarded the film only a so-so "B" Cinemascore, but with no family competition on the near horizon, SpongeBob and co. are looking at around a $150 million total - and on just a $74 million budget, that's a very good result.

2) AMERICAN SNIPER

After spending three weeks on top of the box office, American Sniper finally had to settle for second place. The Clint Eastwood biopic took in $24.1 million (off just over 21%) and raised its total to $282.3 million. That moves it up to second place all time for R-rated films - trailing just Passion of the Christ ($370.3 million). It has also earned more than every other Best Picture nominee combined and is still on track to be crowned the highest-grossing film of 2014 (winding up around $350 million total).

3) JUPITER ASCENDING

The Wachowskis sibling's star continued to fade over the weekend. Following the lackluster response to Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending opened in third with just $19 million. That is barely above Speed Racer ($18.6 million) and consider the addition of 3D, attendance was likely even lower for the convoluted sci-fi film. Despite boasting an impressive cast, the delayed film had a hard time selling itself to audiences and opened well below recent sci-fi offerings like Elysium ($29.8 million), Edge of Tomorrow ($28.8 million), After Earth ($27.5 million) and Ender's Game ($27 million) - all of which were considered disappointing in their own right. The audience was 57 percent male and 82 percent over the age of 25 with 3D accounting for 52% of the total. They awarded the film a weak "B-" Cinemascore and with reviewers also lambasting it, there is a real chance it earns less than $50 million. Given its $176 million budget, it could result in a massive loss for the studio - even international totals may not be enough to save this one.

4) SEVENTH SON

Seventh Son has taken two-and-a-half years to get to theaters after ending principal photography. While some things get better with age - delayed movies are almost never one of them. Seventh Son could only muster up a $7.1 million opening. That opening is lower than 2014 disappointments I, Frankenstein ($8.6 million), The Legend of Hercules ($8.9 million) and Pompeii ($10.3 million). In fact, after Blackhat ($3.9 million), it has to be considered one of the weakest films of the year. The audience was 61 percent male and 53 percent were 30 or older. It also earned a "B-" Cinemascore - and, like Jupiter Ascending, is likely to fall off fast. Expect this to earn well under $20 million for its run.

5) PADDINGTON

Facing direct competition from SpongeBob, Paddington actually held up relatively well. Dipping just over 35%, Paddington dropped from 3rd to 5th place with $5.36 million. That brings its total up to $57.2 million. While it has probably about run its course, Paddington should have enough left in the tank to finish at around the $70 million mark.



Outside the top five: The best hold out of all the films in the top 10 belonged to Oscar nominee The Imitation Game, which retained its 7th ranked spot by dropping a miniscule 2.6% - even though is lost 439 theaters. It brought in $4.88 million and is sitting at just below $75 million (with a $74.7 million total).

Next week two big movies look to shake up the box office. The steamy Fifty Shades of Grey and the action-packed Kingsman: The Secret Service - both have a good shot at making some serious box office cash thanks to some inventive marketing.

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