The execs at Lionsgate must be on their knees constantly thanking the Lord for “The Hunger Games” franchise. If it wasn’t for those films, Lionsgate could possibly well be suffering the same fate as Relativity Media, the financing /distribution film company that went belly up just a few months ago.
Lionsgate has simply been on a bad streak of box office
losers for some time and 2015 hasn’t been great either. It started off badly with the dismal Johnny Depp would-be comedy “Mordecai,” which reportedly lost almost $70 million. It was followed by a string of other flops, such as “American Ultra” and box office disappointments like “Sicario.” So “The Hunger Games,” as you can see, has been the lifesaver for the company.
And now it couldn’t come at a better time since Lionsgate’s latest film, which opened this weekend, which they hoped would be their next great tentpole film – “The Last Which Hunter” with Vin Diesel and Michael Caine – died an ugly death at the box office. The $75 million picture grossed a lousy $10.8 million, coming in 4th, which means the film will not even break even for the studio.
But let’s be honest here. There are some films that just have the stench of a loser before it’s even released. I mean seriously… Vin Diesel is “The Last Witch Hunter.” That alone said in bold bright colorful letters, “STAY AWAY FROM THIS DRECK!”
The big problem Lionsgate now faces is that their next “Hunger Games” movie, “Mockingjay Part 2” – which opens a month from now – will be the last one. No more “Hunger Games” after this one. And what’s worse is that the studio’s attempts to create a new tentpole franchise have led to huge b.o. flops such as the aforementioned “Witch Hunter” and “Enders Game.” What are they going to do next year? Will they be still be around next year?
Meanwhile, Universal, which has been having a great year at the box office, has surprisingly stumbled with “Steve Jobs.” The film finally opened wide across the country, after doing solid business for the past two weeks in limited openings, and getting some of the best reviews for any film this year. However, this weekend, opening wide, it only pulled in half of what the studio was expecting, with $7.2 million, coming in at 7th place.
What happened? Too much competition from other films perhaps? Or maybe a Steve Jobs film has limited appeal. Perhaps the main interest was from computer geeks. But the general public wasn’t so enraptured apparently; you know, the ones who line up overnight outside Apple stores whenever the company releases some new version of the iPhone that they just have to get, but it’s almost exactly like the previous one. (A question I’ve always wondered is how these people who can spend all day lining up in front of a store, earn the money they spend to buy the latest and the greatest product every few months it seems).
“The Martian” came back to take the No.1 position this weekend, with $15.9 million, just beating out last week’s No.1, “Goosebumps,” which earned $15.5 million. At the rate it’s going, “The Martian” is heading for a $230-240 million domestic gross, and at least another $350-300 million overseas.
And Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” showed some very strong b.o. legs, dropping only 26% to retain the No.3 slot with $11.3 million.
Meanwhile, speaking of drop-offs, Guillermo Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” took a huge drop of 57% down to 8th place, with $5.5 million, while “Jem and the Holograms” performed miserably, making just $1.3 million, putting it in 15th place, completely out of the top 12.
1) The Martian Fox $15,900,000 Total: $166,355,148
2) Goosebumps Sony $15,500,000 Total: $43,712,142
3) Bridge of Spies BV $11,365,000 Total: $32,581,197
4) The Last Witch Hunter LG/S $10,825,000
5 5 Hotel Transylvania 2 Sony $9,000,000 Total: $148,292,541
6) Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Par. $8,200,000
7) Steve Jobs Uni. $7,270,000 Total: $9,982,808
8) Crimson Peak Uni. $5,560,000 Total: $22,450,775
9) The Intern WB $3,855,000 Total: $64,702,882 –
10) Sicario LGF $2,950,000 Total: $39,385,547
11) Woodlawn PFR $2,550,000 Total: $7,924,648
12) Pan WB $2,540,000 Total: $29,821,694