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article image'SpongeBob' squeezes in while '50 Shades of Grey' grabs spotlight

By Tim O'Brien     Feb 5, 2015 in Entertainment
A sponge will unseat a sniper at the box office this weekend. "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" will settle at the top as "American Sniper" will still be making those headlines.
Simply because it is a change of pace and a family movie, "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" film is the logical pick this weekend, and the theater count helps that as well. After a while, movies like this one need a fan base and it has it. If one is not a fan, an impulse ticket buy may not be in the cards.
But, "50 Shades of Grey" may be grabbing the spotlight away as it opens on Feb. 13. See below.
The two other wide releases, "Jupiter Ascending" and "Seventh Son" take up many other theaters, so it looks a bit crowded since "Sniper" is still strong. Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis star in "Jupiter Ascending" and it may not do as well as hoped when it was just an idea on paper. But, with Tatum and Kunis, it may pull in both female and male audiences. But, it will not beat "SpongeBob," which is looking at around $32-35 million for the three-day weekend.
"Jupiter Ascending" may hit $20 million while "Seventh Son" has Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges and will falter at maybe $10 million. Star power is out but the audiences may not be. It looks like 3D will be a factor this weekend with those numbers.
1. "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" - 3,641 theaters
2. "Jupiter Ascending" - 3,181 theaters
3. "Seventh Son" - 2,872 theaters
So, a spongeworthy character is the lead for the weekend, while a sci fi flick is not as strong going in. If "American Sniper" does better than expected as it has been doing, it could add a curve ball. Because, "Seventh Son" seems like an odd choice for Moore and Bridges.
One another box office note, since "American Sniper" officially came out in 2014, it continues to rise on the charts for that year. It is now in the top five for 2014. This report did note earlier that the latest "Hunger Games" movie did pass "Guardians of the Galaxy" as the year's top film.
Plus, the odd marketing for "50 Shades of Grey" has begun. While interest is real high among females for this as the book was out sight, Target get the toy product tie-in. Will those who actually read the book show up or be kind of shy to do so? It is an R-rated film, but having it play on one screen and then have "SpongeBob" on another is surely being discussed among exhibitors. Plus, many have started a boycott campaign already. The subject matter is somewhat like "Last Tango is Paris" when it comes to grabbing the spotlight, good or bad.
"50 Shades of Grey" has huge pre-sale interest at Fandango, so it is looking like a $60 million opener right now. More later on this one.
Meanwhile, Amy Paschal is out at Sony, is is she? She is now longer is the same job but will be launching a production until at the studio in Culver City, noted Deadline. After the disaster with "The Interview," insiders knew a shake-up was happening, It just did.
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