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Box office report: 'SpongeBob' opens with $56 million

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Apparently SpongeBob is just as popular now as he was during his Nickelodeon heyday: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water dominated the weekend’s box office with a $56 million opening—considerably more than The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie‘s $32 million debut weekend in 2004.

Theaters have hosted a few PG-rated films since 2015 kicked off, but none of those films have anything as commercial as SpongeBob at its helm. Even Paddington, the year’s most successful family-friendly flick so far, doesn’t have the star-power (at least among kids) of the cartoon yellow sponge, which has inspired theme park rides, video games, and now multiple films. Also likely contributing to that impressive opening weekend is the fact that new episodes of the show haven’t aired since 2013. That hiatus has given SpongeBob fans plenty of time to crave new content from the SpongeBob world—and, as a result, plenty of time to get excited about a second film.

After spending four weeks at number one, American Sniper moved down to the number two spot with $24.2 million—only a 21% drop from its previous weekend, but enough to end its box office reign. This is the smallest decrease in sales the movie’s seen yet though, meaning Sniper still has a ways to go before it leaves the top five entirely.

Sniper also easily beat the rest of the weekend’s new releases, including the Wachowskis’ sci-fi drama Jupiter Ascending. After multiple release date changes, the film finally arrived in theaters this weekend and opened with $19 million. That’s more than double the performance of the Wachowskis’ last film, 2012’s Cloud Atlas, which opened with a weak $9.6 million and ended up grossing just $27.1 million domestically. 

Seventh Son, another long-delayed film, landed in the fourth spot with $7.1 million. Like Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son is sci-fi—and also like Jupiter Ascending, it’s been plagued by negative reviews. But Seventh Son didn’t get the strong marketing push Jupiter Ascending did, something that likely contributed to its performance. It also doesn’t help that Jupiter Ascending has the star-power of both the Wachowskis, known for their visually stunning films, and blockbuster-type actors (Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis) while Seventh Son features Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges—also unquestionable A-listers, but not the kind fans are dying to see in a sci-fi context.

Paddington rounded out the top five with $5.4 million, 35% less than last weekend’s total. If Paddington continues its current trend of falling about 35% each weekend, this will likely be its last appearance in the top five—especially once 50 Shades of Grey opens next weekend and reshuffles the box office.

1. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water — $56 million

2. American Sniper — $24.2 million

3. Jupiter Ascending — $19 million

4. Seventh Son — $7.1 million

5. Paddington — $5.4 million

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