NORTH AMERICA: Weekend Actuals: ‘CHAPPiE’ Leads with an Underwhelming $13.3M; ‘Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ Solid with $8.5M; ‘Unfinished Business’ Bombs with $4.8M; ‘American Sniper’ Becomes the Highest Grossing Release of 2014

Sony’s CHAPPiE led the box office this weekend with $13.35 million. However, the Neill Blomkamp directed sci-fi film debuted below its already modest pre-release expectations. The film’s performance also represented the smallest first place take since Ouija led last year’s Halloween weekend box office with $10.74 million in its second weekend of release. While it wasn’t expected to open anywhere near the $29.81 million start of 2013’s Elysium, CHAPPiE ultimately opened a very underwhelming 55 percent softer than Blomkamp’s previous effort. Instead, CHAPPiE performed much more in line with the $13.04 million start of Paul back in March of 2011. Potential for CHAPPiE was no doubt hampered by largely negative critical reviews. It should be noted that the reported production budget for CHAPPiE was a reasonable $49 million.

CHAPPiE opened with $4.53 million on Friday (which included a relativity large $750,000 from evening shows on Thursday), increased 16 percent on Saturday to take in $5.24 million and decline 32 percent on Sunday to gross $3.57 million. That placed the film’s opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.94 to 1. CHAPPiE received a respectable B rating on CinemaScore, which suggests the film is going over better with moviegoers than it has with critics.

Warner’s Focus was down one spot this weekend to place in second with $10.01 million. The romantic heist film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie fell 46 percent from last weekend; though it should be noted that the film took an additional hit from losing IMAX screens to CHAPPiE this weekend. Focus held up significantly better than 2013’s After Earth, which fell 61 percent in its second weekend to gross $10.71 million. With a ten-day take of $34.56 million Focus is still running 25 percent behind the $46.10 million ten-day take of After Earth, but that percentage gap will continue to close going forward.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was off to a very solid third place start with $8.54 million. The ensemble comedy sequel from Fox Searchlight opened towards the higher end of expectations and registered the highest per-location average of any film in the top ten this weekend (with an average of $5,429). The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel benefited from the overall goodwill for its predecessor and from ultimately opening in wide release this weekend as opposed to limited to moderate release. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opened 22 percent below the $10.98 million start of last year’s The Hundred-Foot Journey and will hope to display similarly strong holding power going forward.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel started with $2.69 million on Friday, increased 33 percent on Saturday to take in $3.58 million and declined 37 percent on Sunday to gross $2.26 million. That placed the film’s opening weekend to Friday ratio at a promising 3.16 to 1. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore.

The weekend’s other new wide release, Fox’s Unfinished Business, was off to a much poorer start with a tenth place take of just $4.77 million. The Vince Vaughn led R-rated comedy opened below its already low expectations and marks yet another disappointment for Vaughn. Unfinished Business opened 40 percent below the $7.94 million start of 2013’s Delivery Man and 72.5 percent below the $17.33 million debut of 2013’s The Internship. There is no question that Vaughn is currently nowhere near the box office draw he was in the previous decade.

Unfinished Business opened with $1.80 million on Friday, increased a slim 4 percent on Saturday to gross $1.87 million and declined 41 percent on Sunday to take in $1.10 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.65 to 1. Unfinished Business received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore, which further suggests that the film will fade away from theatres very quickly.

Thanks in part to the limited amount of business generated from the weekend’s new wide releases, Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was down just 30 percent and two spots from last weekend to take fourth with $8.31 million. The Matthew Vaughn directed graphic novel adaptation starring Colin Firth continues to display very solid holding power, especially for its genre. With a stronger than expected 24-day take of $98.04 million Kingsman: The Secret Service is now on the verge of reaching the $100 million domestic milestone.

In other box office news, Warner’s American Sniper surpassed the $336.96 million total gross of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 to become the highest grossing release of 2014 domestically. American Sniper has blown past all expectations with $337.10 million to date. The Clint Eastwood directed blockbuster starring Bradley Cooper took in $4.40 million this weekend. That placed the film in eleventh for the frame and represented a 40 percent decline from last weekend’s performance.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Fifty Shades of Grey both continued to have a presence at the box office with respective fifth place and sixth place takes of $6.66 million and $5.52 million. Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie was down 38 percent from last weekend, while Universal’s Fifty Shades of Grey fell 48 percent. Fifty Shades of Grey and The SpongeBob Movie continue to remain as the two highest grossing releases of 2015 thus far domestically with respective total grosses of $156.36 million and $148.66 million.