After some bad box office news, Will Smith finally has a hit again. His R-rated romantic action flick Focus took the top spot this weekend. The film, co-staring actress Margot Robbie, earned $19.1 million at the box office. But even though this was a number one for Smith, it pales in comparison to his past box office hits. In fact, it is the lowest openings of Smith’s career.
The Warner Bros. film centers around a con man who lets a young lover in on his secret life, introducing her to the tricks of his trade before ending the relationship. They meet again three years later in Buenos Aires when they’re both trying to scam the same billionaire.
The film beat out the previous top movie Fifty Shades of Grey, which was No. 1 for two consecutive weekends. And Kingsman: The Secret Service came out ahead of Fifty Shades for the first time (both films opened back over President’s Day weekend).
Even though Focus was lukewarm in North America, it didn’t generate any heat for Smith overseas. Usually he pulls in big numbers internationally — one of the few African-American actors to do so. With Focus, he only had an opening of $12.2 million from 31 territories (this is about 30 percent of the marketplace).
“Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Focus placed No. 1 in Russia with $3.1 million, followed by $3 million in the U.K., where it lost to Fox Searchlight’s The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Marigold 2 opened to a stellar $5.9 million in the U.K. for a total opening of $9.4 million from just three markets,” reports The Hollywood Reporter. It should be noted that Marigold 2 has a largely British cast, including Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy.
However Focus could be the sign Smith is on the way back up–even if it might take some time. Summer 2013’s After Earth totally opened with only $27.5 million. Industry experts believe Focus will ultimately be financially successful.
Also, it should not really be a measure of Smith’s box office pull since it’s not his normal blockbuster film. In fact, it’s not the type of film Smith does at all normally, which is either drama or action comedy. Focus is a dark comedy. Take for example Smith’s last romantic comedy, Hitch. It debuted to $43.1 million in 2005. Focus, as predicted, was a favorite with women (53 percent) and 88 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25.
“This was a midrange-budgeted movie, and the strong result reflected that,” said Warner Bros. executive vp distribution Jeff Goldstein. “The severely inclement weather in the Midwest and the South played havoc at the box office.”