Has the curse of Mars movies been broken? It sure looks that way, box office wise, thanks to the terrific opening of Ridley Scott’s optimistic, crowd-pleasing “The Martian” starring Matt Damon which brought in a terrific $54.3 million this weekend. And October seems to be a great launching pad for action dramas set in outer space. “The Martian” fell just shy of the $55.7 million opening Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” the current highest-grossing October film record holder, but between the success of these two films and Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” it feels like space exploration is hitting its stride on the big screen of late with audiences. An A- Cineimscore likely means “The Martian” will keep packing them in for weeks to come. Globally, the film had a $100 million-plus weekend and it still has big markets like China, Japan and Russia to open in. After a few stumbles, Matt Damon has reestablished his stardom in a big way with “The Martian” marking the second biggest opening of his career after “The Bourne Ultimatum” which took in $69 million in 2007.
Pretty much every studio saw “The Martian” coming so there was almost no big competition. The only other new release was Sony/TriStar’s “The Walk” from Robert Zemeckis. But only out in a limited IMAX release of 448 screens, “The Walk” couldn’t quite crack the top 10, but did take in a decent, but not remarkable $1.5 million.
Elsewhere, it was a strong weekend for holdovers. “Hotel Transylvania 2” held on with a very minor 31.9% drop (thank you A Cinemascope and repeat visits from families) and has practically cracked the $100 million mark in two weeks. It will unquestionably reach that mark by next weekend, and the question now is how high will it go and if it surpass the original. All signs seem very promising at the moment.
Lionsgate’s “Sicario” went wide this weekend, to a total of 2,600 screens and the well-reviewed, well-received drama score an impressive $12 million in its first week of expansion. Word of mouth is building on this one as is murmurs of Oscar viability, so one should keep a steady eye on its progress.
Warner Bros. “The Intern” didn’t break the bank opening weekend, but week two demonstrated a super solid -34% hold which points to a stickiness that should keep it in theaters for several weeks. Over at 20th Century Fox, their “The Maze Runner” series is showing unexpected signs of minor fatigue already. Three weeks in and the film has only hit $63 million so far (the original was $10 million higher by this point last year), and it’s unclear, given how competitive the box-office is this winter if ‘Scorch Trials’ will be able to hit the $102 million gross of the original (probably not). Internationally, however, it’s a different story. The movie is currently at $211 million, but that’s still a ways off from the $340 grand worldwide total of the original.
Elsewhere at the box-office “Black Mass,” “Everest,” “The Visit,” “The War Room” and “The Perfect Guy” are still kicking around the bottom half of the top 10 and almost all of them have surpassed the $50 million mark or more. Warner’s mobster film is still showing a decent hold (-46.5%), but it’s Universal’s mountain climbing doc with the starry cast that’s ironically doing the worst of all of them. The movie dropped almost 58% in week two of wide release and has only grossed $33 million so far domestically, but worldwide it has fared a little better with $137 million.
In its second week of semi-wide release, Eli Roth‘s “The Green Inferno” is essentially over, dropping a huge 62.9% and falling out of the top ten. In limited release the per screen average winner was Fox Searchlight‘s doc “He Named Me Malala” which earned $60,884 from four screens for a $15,221 PSA. Audiences seemingly listened to critics who ragged on the Lifetime movie-ness of Liongate‘s “Freeheld.” The movie grossed $37,983 from five screens for a weak $7,597 PSA. In contrast, the similar message movie weepie “Still Alice” (also starring Julianne Moore) earned a $16,417 PSA in January of this year.
1. The Martian— $54,308,575
2. Hotel Transylvania 2 — $33,192,596 ($90,734,361)
3. Sicario — $12,148,041($15,149,336)
4. The Intern — $11,685,064 ($36,588,956)
5. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials — $7,804,991 ($63,396,115)
6. Black Mass — $5,846,126($52,462,156 )
7. Everest — $5,640,500 ($33,311,810)
8. The Visit — $3,972,020 ($57,717,110)
9. War Room — $2,824,067 ($60,568,680)
10. The Perfect Guy — $2,412,366 ($52,627,556)