Box Office: ‘Cinderella’ Enchants America With $70 Million Debut
Cinderella is enchanting America at the weekend box office, as Disney’s live-action remake of the animated fairy tale classic debuted at No. 1 with a staggering $70 million. Worldwide, the movie finished the weekend with $132.5 million, with a record-breaking $25 million from China alone.
Cinderella marks Thor director Kenneth Branagh’s all-time biggest opening as a director, and it’s already on track to surpass last summer’s Maleficent. That film opened to $69.4 million, and would go on to gross $758.4 million worldwide by the end of its run. It’s a tall order for Cinderella, but the film is off to a great start, as this is now one of the biggest openings ever for the month of March, and a star-making vehicle for Lily James, whose latest run on Downton Abbey just finished airing stateside about a month ago. This is huge for someone who’s such a relatively unknown commodity on the big screen. Hell, it’s just as big for Game of Thrones star Richard Madden, who’s similarly never opened a big screen blockbuster like this before.
Granted, one could argue that this is a victory for the Disney brand more so than for any of its stars, considering that the fairy tale premise and the lure of seeing a new take on a classic fable was the draw. Still, this is a great way for both James and Madden to kick off their respective film careers. Plus, it’s not as if the movie has no stars at all: it’s got two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter. Cinderella, which cost $95 million to make, earned the biggest March opening of all time in China, and all without the boost of IMAX or 3D, so it’s not just popular in English-speaking territories. In short, this movie could end up being massive for Disney.
But things weren’t as blissful for the weekend’s other big newcomer, as Liam Neeson is suffering from Taken fatigue: his latest action-revenge thriller, Run All Night, opened to $11 million. Considering that the movie cost $50 million to make, this is a huge disappointment for Neeson. Co-starring Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, and Common, Run All Night was marketed to male audiences in an attempt at counterprogramming the release of Cinderella, but that just wasn’t enough to keep this from being the poorest opening of Neeson’s action career. The international number helped a bit, as the $6.6 million gross overseas brought the worldwide total to $17.6 million. The movie earned just enough to come in at No. 2 in America, despite the disappointing numbers, but I wouldn’t expect the movie to have much in the way of staying power.
Kingsman: The Secret Service came in third with $6.2 million to bring its domestic gross to $107.4 million. Currently, its worldwide gross is sitting pretty at $277.3 million. Meanwhile, Focus just barely eked out a No. 4 placement over Chappie, which disappointed in its second weekend with a weak No. 5 finish. However, Chappie is helped by its modest $50 million budget, since the movie has already recouped the investment with its $56.7 million worldwide gross over the past two weeks. But it probably isn’t going to have the staying power that Focus is showing, as the Will Smith/Margot Robbie caper crossed the $100 million milestone, finishing with $101.7 million in ticket sales. That said, much like Chappie, industry insiders consider Focus a disappointment overall, considering what was expected of it.
But how did the rest of the films do at the weekend box office this week? Check out the Top 10 below:
TOP 10 AT THE WEEKEND BOX OFFICE – 03/16/2015
1. Cinderella ($70 million)
2. Run All Night ($11 million)
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service ($6.2 million)
4. Focus ($5.81 million)
5. Chappie ($5.8 million)
6. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ($5.7 million)
7. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water ($4.1 million)
8. McFarland, USA ($3.6 million)
9. American Sniper ($2.9 million)
10. The DUFF ($2.8 million)