Weekend Box Office: Massive Spongebob Crushes DOA ‘Jupiter Ascending’

I did my best to urge you all to see Jupiter Ascending, the Winchester Mystery House of movies, but I suspect no one read past the headline, and audiences avoided it in droves. The Wachowski Starship’s $176 million budgeted whatsit grossed less than $20 million domestic in its opening weekend, getting crushed by Spongebob: Sponge Out Of Water‘s $56 million. That was good enough for fifth best February opening of all time, and it was up 75% from the first Spongebob movie’s $32 million.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’s audience was 53 percent male and 60 percent under the age of 25. They awarded the movie a “B” CinemaScore, which is below-average for this genre. [BoxOfficeMojo]

Critics mostly liked it, with it rating 75% on RottenTomatoes. I wanted to review it, but they always screen these animated movies on Saturday mornings when daddy has a hangover.

But what about the bombs? I half wondered whether curiosity over a movie that looked like a disaster would carry Jupiter Ascending over the top, but that obviously didn’t work out. Maybe people are smart enough to avoid any Summer blockbuster that gets pushed to February, or maybe people avoided it for the same reason the studio bumped it. We’ve got sort of a chicken-and-albino-space-wolf-on-rollerblades situation here.

In terms of comparisons, this is a lower opening than similar mega-budget genre bombs like Jack the Giant Slayer ($27m), Battleship ($28m), and John Carter ($30m). If it follows a similar over/under 2.5x weekend-to-final multiplier, it ends its domestic run with between $45m and $50m. The film played 82% over-25 years old (which is a little shocking and implies that love for The Matrix didn’t exactly get passed down a generation) and 57% male. It played a surprising 52% 3D and 11.5% IMAX. [Forbes]

Bummer. I enjoyed that Warner Bros gave the Wachowskis enough money to string together as many consecutive bad decisions as they did – that’s what ultimately makes the movie worth seeing, if you ask me. This probably just means we’ll be getting more focus-grouped bad decision making instead. Ie, more Maze Runners.

Domestically, Seventh Son (I made Laremy review that one), starring Jeff Bridges did even worse than Jupiter Ascending, much worse, grossing just $7 million. And this with a budget of $90-100 million (God knows where that went). Luckily for it, it earned $26 million in China and has earned $90.7 million worldwide. The US gets accused of exporting a lot of garbage, which is true, but you show me a terrible movie, and I’ll show you a movie that made 70% of its budget overseas. It’s a rich crapestry.

This week brings us Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service (yay!) and Fifty Shades of Grey (*squirt*).