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Box Office: Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ Sets Sights on $20 Million Opening

Will Smith’s “Focus” has unseated “Fifty Shades of Grey” as the No. 1 film in the country. The crime drama opened to $6.5 million on Friday in the U.S. and has set its sights on $20 million this weekend. Tracking had pegged a debut in the $21 million to $23 million range.

Although the respectable launch doesn’t prove that Smith is still one of the Hollywood’s biggest stars, the Warner Bros. film is nowhere near the disaster that the sci-fi tentpole “After Earth” wrought for Sony. “Focus” also carries a much smaller, $50 million pricetag — a third the size of “After Earth’s” budget.

Margot Robbie, who made her debut in Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Wolf of Wall Street,” co-stars as a young con artist in the romantic caper directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Smith plays a veteran conman who takes Robbie under his wing, only to regret the decision later.

Following last week’s 74% tumble, “Fifty Shades” continues its downward spiral at the box office. Universal’s erotic romance dropped 55% in its third frame, earning $3.5 million on Friday for a possible $10 million weekend.

The kinky drama broke countless records in its opening weekend and will return for more installments.

“Fifty Shades” will have hauled in a whopping $147 million by weekend’s end. It has also dominated foreign markets, having grossed $280 million internationally as of Thursday.

Another newcomer, “The Lazarus Effect,” was runner-up with $3.8 million on Friday, but will fall to fourth by Sunday. Relativity’s horror pic will scare up $10 million by Sunday.

Relativity’s micro-budget thriller, produced by Blumhouse and Mosaic for just $3.3 million, stars Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde as engaged researchers who discover how to resurrect the dead.

Completed back in 2013, the movie was originally supposed to be released by Lionsgate, which is now overseeing international distribution.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” came in fourth on Friday with $3.1 million in its third weekend. Fox’s spy thriller is headed for a second place finish this weekend, with just under $11 million, raising its cume to $85 million.

Meanwhile, the fourth weekend of “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” brought in an estimated $2.1 million for a fifth place finish on Friday. The Paramount toon will likely reel in north of $8.5 million this weekend.

“American Sniper” made $1.9 million on Friday and could bring in $7 million by Sunday. Warner Bros.’ Iraq War drama looks to cross $330 million this weekend.

The Bradley Cooper-starrer will soon overtake “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” which has earned $336.5 million in the U.S., as the highest-grossing domestic release of 2014. “American Sniper” opened in theaters on Christmas Day before going wide on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

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