Friday Box Office: FOCUS Opens in First with $6.4 Million; THE LAZARUS EFFECT in Second

     February 28, 2015

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After weeks of exciting box office news (both good and bad), February’s final new releases are proving a bit more pedestrian. Both Focus and The Lazarus Effect are expected to hit their debut projections this weekend, though neither appear to be setting audiences on fire.

Of course, 2015 has already provided more than its share of big box office winners and losers. Among the former, American Sniper set records in January, although its initial release date puts it firmly in 2014’s win column. Then two weeks ago Fifty Shades of Grey arrived with record-setting flare – before plummeting by a near record-setting 74% in its sophomore frame. In terms of headline-making losers, 2015 has hosted Blackhat and Mortdecai, neither of which managed to crawl past $8 million in total domestic earnings despite production budgets of $60 million or higher.

By comparison, Friday’s new releases were neither spectacularly good nor spectacularly bad. They were just sort of, meh.

focus-poster-finalIn first place is Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie. The film is part romantic comedy, part caper flick – at least if the film’s trailers are to be believed. Focus marks Smith’s first major role since the debacle of After Earth, in 2013. It’s also the former box office king’s first R-rated release since 2003’s Bad Boys II.

Focus earned an estimated $6.465 million from 3,323 locations on Friday and is expected to stay on top of the weekend chart with at least $20 million. That’s a bit less than Warner Bros. was hoping for, but still relatively robust for a mid-level February release. That’s right, Will Smith is now a mid-level box office draw – at least for U.S. audiences.

Friday’s second new release is The Lazarus Effect, a horror movie from the shockingly-prolific producer Jason Blum. From 2,666 locations, Lazarus earned an estimated $3.8 million. That was a bit higher than projected and was good enough to put the PG-13 pic in second place on Friday. Lazarus is still expected to take in between $10-$12 million this weekend. Though just a fraction of what this year’s higher-profile releases have opened with, a $12 million debut would be a win for the film’s distributor, Relativity, and for Jason Blum. Like most of the producer’s films (Paranormal Activity, Insidious), The Lazarus Effect was made for less than $5 million.

We’ll have complete details on the weekend box office tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Focus $6,465,000 $6.46
2.  The Lazarus Effect $3,800,000 $3.8
3.  Fifty Shades of Grey $3,500,000 $140.3
4.  Kingsman: Secret Service $3,115,000 $77
5.  The DUFF $2,140,000 $15

 

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