"American Sniper's" reign as the no. 1 movie in the U.S. has come to an end thanks to a Nickelodeon movie that many though was 10 years too late.  

"The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" is the sequel to "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" which earned $85 million back in 2004. For some reason it took over a decade for a sequel to happen and it appears to have been well worth the wait. The Paramount Pictures release took in $15 million on Friday and is projected to earn $45-50 million over the three-day. That is a substantially bigger the original's $32 million opening which occurred at a time when the property was at a pop culture high.  With a reported budget of $74 million, however, this new "Spongebob" flick will need to outperform is predecessor substantially to break even.

Debuting in second was the Wachowskis' latest effort, "Jupiter Ascending."  The Sci-Fi flick took in $6.3 million for what could be an $16-18 million weekend. That's below pre-release polling that estimated a $25 million plus debut.  Negative reviews likely contributed to the film's performance.

Clint Eastwood's Oscar-nominated blockbuster continued its stellar run on at no. 3 with another $6.2 million and $264 million overall.  The question isn't whether "Sniper" will hit $300 million, that's a given. It's whether the Bradley Cooper drama will surpass a jaw-dropping $350 million.

Another critics' miss is Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures' "Seventh Son."  This fantasy adventure was originally supposed to hit theaters in 2014 but was delayed after Legendary exited its distribution deal with Warner Bros.  With just $2.3 million this potential franchise starter is pretty much dead on arrival. It will be lucky to hit $8 million by Sunday.

"Project Almanac" rounded out the top five with another $1.4 million for $11.9 million in its first eight days.

Look for complete weekend estimates Sunday on Hitfix.

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.