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article image'Focus' will take over as box office slows down

By Tim O'Brien     Feb 26, 2015 in Entertainment
It is now time for the box office to focus once again as the Oscars are over. "Focus" will take down "Fifty Shades of Grey" this weekend.
Will Smith, once a huge box office draw, now gets a wide released at the end of February. That doesn't bode well for the once huge superstar. It doesn't mean much for him, but once-proven blockbuster stars get regulated to early in the year does say something.
The studios are no longer looking at them for the blockbuster but rather pleasant surprises. A movie that does well early in the year helps the overall box office when the year ends. It looks like studios have looked into ways to spark a fire in the audience in January and February. "American Sniper" is not in those categories as it had star power and opened on Christmas. It went wide in January, just in time for the Oscars.
A better example of a surprise was a few years back when Liam Neeson starred on the first "Taken" movie. Plus, recently, Kevin Costner has tried to ignite an early of the year spark. Animated movies have helped, too, when they are released now. The formula for releasing movies seems to be changing.
1. "Focus" - 3,223 theaters
2. "The Lazarus Effect" - 2,500 theaters
3. "A La Mala" - 350 theaters
4. "Maps to the Stars" - 50 theaters
"Focus" stars Smith and Margot Robbie in a con game comedy. Also appearing is Kristen Stewart. Smith's charm is the focus here and that may be enough. The estimates now are around $20-25 million. That is not too healthy for a winning film but that is more like normal for a end of February release.
"The Lazarus Effect" is like the name suggests. It is a movie about trying to bring the dead back to life and stars Olivia Wilde.
It does seems rather crowded at the box office with the addition of these two new wide releases. "Fifty Shades of Grey" took a huge dive in week two so that is not expected to do better, so "Focus" can fire up a win just because it is new.
Many films of late have been posting numbers that beat expectations and that is good for the box office. This has nothing to do with them being good or not, as this is a box office report and not reviews of movies. So, talking about the money part can seem like a review of them, but it is not.
Meanwhile, after its Oscar win, "Birdman" is upping its theater count to 1,000. That is quite interesting since it has been put back in theaters before. After the nominations came out, it went back in and now, it goes back in again. It is also out on DVD.
Fandango is noting that "Insurgent" is doing well in early sales already. It opens on March 20.
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