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Will Smith tops US box office with Focus but opening figure is soft


Story by Jack Foley

WILL Smith has returned to the top of the US box office with his latest movie Focus but the conman drama opened with lower takings than expected.

The R-rated romantic heist flick, co-starring Margot Robbie, took $19.1 million, which marked one of the lowest openings of Smith’s prolific career.

Nevertheless, it was enough to shift Fifty Shades of Grey from the top spot after two weekends.

Indeed, Fifty Shades fell to third, behind Kingsman: The Secret Service, which pulled ahead of the bondage movie for the first time, having both opened over Presidents Day weekend.

However, the main focus of this week’s box office attention was seeing how Smith bounced back after the box office disappointment of his last summer blockbuster, After Earth (opening to just $27.5 million).

Focus is a much smaller film than usual for Smith and marks a move for the actor back to more character-driven, plot-heavy dramas. It cost a reported $50 million to make after rebates. But in spite of this, tracking had estimated an opening figure in the region of $22 million.

This puts it just above par for the kind of opening figures Smith usually attracts when going more serious, such as Ali, which launched to $14.7 million in 2001, and Seven Pounds, which debuted to $14.9 million in 2008.

Next up for Smith is NFL sports drama Concussion, which is due to open around Thanksgiving.

The weekend’s other main new release was micro-budget horror movie The Lazarus Effect, which follows a group of researchers (including Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde) who try to bring the dead back to life. The film grossed $10.6 million to come in fifth.

The US top five therefore consists of Focus in first place, Kingsman: The Secret Service in second with $11.8 million (for a US total of $85.7 million), The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water in third with $11.2 million, Fifty Shades of Grey in fourth with $10.9 million (US total, $147.7 million), and The Lazarus Effect in fifth.

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