Will Smith and Margot Robbie’s romantic caper film Focus easily topped the North American box office this weekend, although with a milder debut than expected. The heist flick opened with an estimated $19.1 million, which is solid for a film about con artists, but pretty tepid for Will Smith’s standards. In the last 10 years, only one film with the Fresh Prince headlining has opened worse: 2008’s Seven Pounds ($14.9 million). Despite an appealing marketing campaign, a lack of competition, IMAX theaters and the presence of co-star Margot Robbie, Focus couldn’t even top the opening for Smith’s much-derided 2013 bomb After Earth ($27.5 million).
The estimated $19.1 million take is equal to the opening for directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s 2011’s romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love. It was also around the same mark as adult-oriented thrillers from the first quarter of the year, such as Limitless ($18.9 million) and The Adjustment Bureau ($21.2 million). Still, with Will Smith’s star power, Focus was expected to open in the mid-$20 million range. Perhaps the sheen of the two leads was not enough to overcome an ad campaign which didn’t do much to emphasize the story much beyond the con artist angle. Mixed reviews and audience response (a B CinemaScore) also didn’t bode well for the R-rated film.
In the lower teen figures, three holdovers and one new film finished within $1.2 million of each other to take second to fifth place. Although, these positions could move when actual numbers are reported Monday.
For the third weekend in a row, Kingsman: The Secret Service finished in second place. It dropped only 36% to bring in another $11.8 million to its cume, which now stands at $85.7 million. Meanwhile, after two weekends of large drops, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water stabilized, dipping only 32% to gross $11.2 million in third place. With more than $140 million at this point, the animated comedy should find its way to a total of around $165 million – close to double the finish of The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie from 2004.