Ooof, it was a particularly terrible frame for new releases this weekend. Of the four new wide releases only one picture — Lionsgate’s “The Last Witch Hunter,” which wasn’t even widely screened for press — cracked the top five and only one other movie of the newcomers cracked the top 10. On 3,000 plus screens “The Last Witch Hunter” could only score a soft $10 million opening. A B- Cinemascore isn’t a rousing gesture of audience confidence and it shows once more, like many stars, actors like Vin Diesel aren’t huge outside their franchises (in his case “The Fast & The Furious”).
All the other new entries largely fell flat on their face, Paramount’s “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” faring the best of the rest with an $8.2 million opening, but an extremely lackluster C Cinemascore. The fifth series in this found-footage entry, it seems that audiences have tired of the franchise and it’s good timing as ‘Ghost Dimension’ is apparently supposed to be the final installment. Good riddance? Because theatergoers are done with this one before it’s even started. Things were much, much more brutal for Open Road‘s poorly-reviewed “Rock The Kasbah” with Bill Murray and Universal’s live-action adaptation of the animated ‘80s cartoon series “Jem And The Holograms.” Both pictures were huge flops.
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In this day and age, ‘Kasbah’ probably had no business opening up on 2,000-plus screens, and the film tanked with a $1.5 million opening outside the top 10. That’s also a miserable $750 per screen average — the fourth worst PSA of 2015. The dishonorable distinction of the third worst per screen average of 2015 however goes to Jon M. Chu’s “Jem And The Holograms,” which only furthers the curse of female-oriented rock movies on the screen that have almost never been anything but box-office bombs. On 2,400-plus screens ‘Jem’ could only muster $1.3 million, a $547 per screen average and the juice to just barely crack the box-office top fifteen. This is a bit of an unfortunate one for many reasons, but mostly any narrative that revolves around the theory that women can’t open movies. ‘Jem,’ however, was a different case. A movie about and aimed at millennials with no stars to speak of other than Juliet Lewis as one of the mom figures, ‘Jem’ faced an uphill challenge as it was, but it just did not connect with any audiences. Terrible reviews probably didn’t help. But unfortunately, you probably won’t see a major studio like Universal going to bat for this kind of project again any time soon.
Universal’s “Steve Jobs,” the film that cracked the limited release market wide open — it scored the highest per screen average of 2015 and the the fifth highest ever of indie releases — met a huge glitch in wide release and didn’t perform up to expectations. Increasing its theater count by +380.6% — 2493 screens — the movie did catch $7.2 million and the number 7th slot out of the top 10, but can anyone remember the last time a huge limited opening like that didn’t translate wide? Ok, maybe not that long ago, the same thing happened to “The Master” in 2012, going from gangbusters limited to very disappointing wide release numbers (and we can’t use “American Sniper” as a comparison because that behemoth was kind of an anomaly). It’s really unclear what this will mean for “Steve Jobs”’ fate at the box-office — after all, presumably it’s in theaters all season long and scores a big uptick from guaranteed Golden Globe and Oscar nominations — but maybe Universal should have gone the “Grand Budapest Hotel” route of a slowly rising platform release instead of just going massively wide after two weeks.
And so what was left? Audiences favoring safe bets and movies that they’ve heard are great, but haven’t yet had a chance to see. Thus Fox’s “The Martian” took the number one slot in its fourth week of wide release with $15.9 million and a rock solid -25.4% hold at the box-office. Don’t be surprised if this is a big Golden Globe nominee (albeit in the largely meaningless-to-Oscar Comedy/Musical category). At $384 million worldwide, the movie will handily crack $400 million and is easily the most successful movie about Mars, which used to have a curse almost as bad as girl-band movies.
Sony‘s “Goosebumps,” and “Hotel Transylvania 2” and DreamWorks‘ “Bridge Of Spies” all demonstrated excellent holds; -34.4% for the family frightener, -26.1% for the throwback Spielberg and -28.8% for the animated tooner. Meanwhile, this weekend should disabuse you of any notions of a comeback or hold for Guillermo del Toro’s passively received “Crimson Peak.” In its second week of wide release the film fell a steep -57.7% and the gothic horror is probably looking to fall out of the top 10 either next week or the one after. Lionsgate‘s “Sicario” has had a good little not-quite-wide run and boasted a strong -35.3% hold in its sixth week of release.
In three weeks, Warner Bros. “Pan” is done for; it has cracked $30 million domestically and has already fallen out of the top 10. Even a huge windfall in China probably won’t help it become a massive write-off for the studio though it will crack $100 million worldwide likely by next weekend. In limited release, the big winner was Focus Features‘ “Suffragette” which grossed a strong $77,000 from four screens for a very healthy $19,250 per screen average. Sarah Silverman‘s “I Smile Back” trailed behind it with a not-remarkable $8,018 PSA that was even beat by the Laurie Anderson‘s artier doc “Heart of a Dog.” The Orchard‘s “Nasty Baby” starring Kristen Wiig barely made a dent with a $4,012 PSA, but it’s also available on VOD so hopefully audiences are catching up with this underrated little indie gem there.
1. The Martian —$15,900,000 ($166,355,148)
2. Goosebumps — $15,500,000 ($43,712,142
3. Bridge of Spies — $11,365,000 ($32,581,197)
4. The Last Witch Hunter —$10,825,000
5. Hotel Transylvania 2 — $9,000,000 ($148,292,541)
6. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension — $8,200,000
7. Steve Jobs — $7,270,000 ($9,982,808)
8. Crimson Peak — $5,560,000 ($22,450,775)
9. The Intern — $3,855,000 ($64,702,882)
10. Sicario — $2,950,000 ($39,385,547)