Paramount’s “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” is dominating the U.S. box office, hitting $15.2 million Friday as it heads for an impressive $52 million opening weekend at 3,641 U.S. locations.
That’s nearly triple the take for Warner Bros.’ expensive “Jupiter Ascending,” which opened with $6.4 million Friday and will finish its first weekend at around $18 million from 3,181 theaters, according to Saturday estimates. Legendary’s action fantasy “Seventh Son” also opened weakly with $2.3 million Friday for a mild $6.5 million weekend for Universal.
Warner Bros.’ “American Sniper,” now in its fourth weekend of wide release, will finish the frame ahead of “Jupiter Ascending” with about $23 million following a $6.3 million Friday. Clint Eastwood’s Iraq war drama, which was released on Christmas, has now topped $264 million domestically — surpassing “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as the third-highest 2014 grosser in the U.S., behind only “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
“Jupiter Ascending,” co-financed by Village Roadshow and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski, was originally slotted for a launch last summer but was delayed in order to complete the extensive special effects — a major part of the $175 million pricetag. Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum star in a complex saga of space travel and genetic engineering.
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The soft launch for “Jupiter” did not surprise as forecasts earlier this week predicted an opening in the low $20 millions. By contrast, the “SpongeBob” results came in far above recent projections, which had pegged the family comedy for a $35 million launch.
Instead, “SpongeBob” will finish only 25% behind the impressive $69 million launch of Warner’s “The Lego Movie,” which opened on the same weekend last year.
“Seventh Son,” starring Jeff Bridges, is performing respectably overseas with $82 million internationally, including $26 million in China — where China Film Group has invested in the film.