'SpongeBob' washes over 'American Sniper' at Friday box office

'SpongeBob' and 'Jupiter Ascending' overtake 'American Sniper' at Friday box office

SpongeBob SquarePants has jumped out of the sea and to the top of the Friday box office.  

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” knocked three-week champion “American Sniper” off its throne, pulling in $15.1 million Friday night. The film, a sequel to 2004's “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” follows the underwater characters from the popular cartoon series in live action as they come ashore.

Voiced by actors Antonio Banderas, Tom Kenny and Clancy Brown, the movie is expected to bring in an estimated $52 million over its debut weekend.

The Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon film, which cost $74 million to make, relies on the potential nostalgia of moviegoers for its expected success: About 98% of those surveyed by Fandango said they had watched the “SpongeBob SquarePants” animated series on Nickelodeon.

The film received a 74% fresh rating from critic site Rotten Tomatoes and a B grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore.

In second place at the box office was another new release, “Jupiter Ascending.” The sci-fi flick, which cost Warner Bros. $179 million to make, grossed $6.4 million Friday.

From writer-director duo Andy and Lana Wachowski, the masterminds of “Cloud Atlas" and the "Matrix" movies, the film follows Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) as a target for elimination by the Queen of the Universe. Channing Tatum and Eddie Redmayne also have featured roles.

“American Sniper” came in third with $6.3 million for a to-date gross of $264.4 million. The Clint Eastwood Iraq war drama is expected to rise to second place by the end of the weekend.

As for this week’s third new release, Universal’s “Seventh Son” only pulled in $2.3 million on its first day. Based on the book series “The Last Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney, it stars Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes and Julianne Moore.

The fantasy has brought in a hefty $82 million internationally, opening at No. 1 in 14 territories.

Follow the reporter on Twitter: @TrevellAnderson.

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