The unusual convergence of four new wide releases in the Top Ten (covering a range of audiences) accounted for about half of the business among these titles as well as bigger drops among holdovers than seen in recent weeks. The total, though again decent for an October weekend ($107 million) is down about six per cent from the same time last year, though up $14 million from 2013, when the third weekend of “Gravity” led the way with a $30 million haul. Last year, Sony’s “Fury” came in at the same gross as “Goosebumps” on top.
“Goosebumps” and its $23 million total is the lowest gross to take the top spot since Labor Day. This is the fourth film in seven weeks to be #1 from Sony, which otherwise has been having an off year. (Their market share to date is under seven per cent — only once this century (2004) for a full year have they fallen under 10%. But this business is about making a profit as well as bragging rights, so that these four films combined cost about as much as, for example, “Pan” ($150 million) with much better results makes their recent success stand out more.
The Top Ten
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1. Goosebumps (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Criticwire: B; Metacritic: 60; Est. budget: $58 million
$23,500,00 in 3,501 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $6,712; Cumulative: $23,500,000
2. The Martian (20th Century Fox) – Week 3; Last weekend #1
$21,500,000 (-42%) in 3,701 theaters (-153); PTA: $5,809; Cumulative: $143,796,000
3. Bridge of Spies (Buena VIsta) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Criticwire: B+; Metacritic 81:; Est. budget: $40 million
$15,380,000 in 2,811 theaters; PTA: $5,471; Cumulative: $15,380,000
4. Crimson Peak (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B-; Criticwire: B+; Metacritic: 67; Est. budget: $55 million
$12,850,000 in 2,984 theaters; PTA: $4,306; Cumulative: $12,850,000
5. Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sony) – Week 4; Last weekend #2
$12,250,000 (-40%) in 3,533 theaters (-235); PTA: $3,467; Cumulative: $136,409,000
6. Pan (Warner Bros.) – Week 2; Last weekend #3
$5,860,000 (-62%) in 3,515 theaters (unchanged); PTA: $1,667; Cumulative: $25,738,000
7. The Intern (Warner Bros.) – Week 4; Last weekend #4
$5,405,000 (-38%) in 2,707 theaters (-517); PTA: $1,997; Cumulative: $58,731,000
8. Sicario (Lionsgate) – Week 5; Last weekend #5
$4,500,000 (-41%) in 2,130 theaters (-490); PTA: $2,113; Cumulative: $34,663,000
9. Woodlawn (PureFlix/Freestyle) NEW – Cinemascore: A+; Criticwire: C+; Est. budget: $25 million
$4,100,000 in 1,553 theaters; PTA: $2,640; Cumulative: $4,100,000
10. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (20th Century Fox) – Week 5 ; Last weekend #6
$2,750,000 (-49%) in 1,976 theaters (-871); PTA: $1,398; Cumulative: $75,412,000
The Openers and Their Four Audiences: What Their Showings Reveal
This weekend shows where domestic strengths and weaknesses are right now. Each movie had distinct audiences — it’s likely that few moviegoers will ever see more than one of them. And only one looks aimed more at foreign than domestic audiences —and it was a disappointment at home.
“Goosebumps” is a hybrid family/horror/comedy/young adult entry, and skewed by far the youngest among the openers (59% under 25, helped by its PG rating). And thus it came in lower than three recent standalone genre entries (“Hotel Transylvania 2,” “The Visit,” “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”) though ahead of “The Intern.” This isn’t surprising: marketing with multiple elements is more challenging than clear cut ones. But the decent start for the title suggests as has been seen this year that audiences are responding to fresh movie content (helped when a project, like this one is based on familiar books). And it definitely was boosted by the disastrous showing of “Pan,” removing it as competition, and its trailer having been prominent with Sony’s “Transylvania” in recent weeks.
Not that there is any doubt about older audiences showing up in strength, but Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” would have been a disaster without them. 88% were over 25, but a staggering 43% were 50 or older. Instead, it had a decent initial showing. And that comes in context of “The Martian” getting strong older support, and a whole range of upscale films either wide or playing more limited at the moment chasing the same dollars (“Sicario,” “Steve Jobs,” which placed 11th in only 60 theaters with $1,150,000), “The Intern” among others. More on its performance below, but it shows the ongoing strength of its audience.
And even more so when it beat out Guillermo del Toro’s highly anticipated “Crimson Peak,” which couldn’t muster $13 million. This is the acclaimed Mexican director’s smallest wide opener ever. Even “Mimic” in 1997 adjusted for inflation did better. Other than that, unadjusted none has come in below $23 million. His “Pan’s Labryinth” (subtitled) grossed $37 million total in 2006 dollars, more than “Crimson” is likely to take in. Here’s where we see confirmation of another recent trend. This one time fanboy favorite saw the audience for this skew 60% female. It was reasonably young (45% under 25), and strong with Latinos (28%), but failed to come close to the usual African-American horror related draw (6%). More “Jane Eyre” than “Hellboy,” the always inventive Del Toro came up with a Gothic romance with horror overtones, and the result seems to have confused potential ticket buyers. It fell 7% Saturday from Friday, which is not unusual among either young-female or broad horror appeal films. But it started from a weak position. Hard to say whether international will take up the slack. It also is a rare recent misfire from Universal, which now has its longest stretch without a number one film this year.
The lowest gross among the newbies came from “Woodlawn” (PureFlix), flexing its muscles outside the studio system (its directors’ previous film “Mom’s Night Out” went out through Sony). This faith-based film was made for more general audiences, its religious message (racial prejudice in high school is overcome by Christian belief) wrapped in the perspective of a sports film. The reported budget was $25 million, high for the genre, with less than usual marketing expense. But it opened to less than 40% of he business of “War Room,” with 400+ more theaters. The distributor is touting its very rare A+ Cinemascore, but it still fell 9% Saturday (“War Room” was down 4%; group sales help push these films to strong first day results). Faith-based audiences have been a bonus over recent years, but it appears they are beginning to trip over each other and there may be a ceiling. Maybe it makes sense to stick with studio releases (as “War Room ” did).
How Standout Is “Bridge of Spies”?
“Bridge of Spies” opened around expectations. It is the first Spielberg-directed film since his breakout “Lincoln,” and reinforces the fact that as a hands-on filmmaker he is as much at the forefront of an older audiences as he once was for a younger one (actually many have aged with him).
With strong reviews and Tom Hanks as the lead, this seems to be a decent but hardly sensational initial result. “Lincoln” in hundreds fewer theaters and in the more distant past managed $21 million and then nearly $26 million in its first wide weeks. “War Horse,” with lesser reviews and no stars, notched $14.4 million over a weekend with Saturday competing with New Year’s Eve. And Hanks two years ago with “Captain Phillips” had two better weekends, just under $26 and 17 million. Among its core older-audience films, “A Walk in the Woods” over a dead Labor Day weekend managed $8.2 million in 500 fewer theaters.
What’s important about the number is that enough people saw it to generate a life ahead if word of mouth is strong, and more importantly strong enough to compete with multiple fellow awards competitors and other older audience entries. It was up 10% Saturday, but that pales compared to the initial second days for the wide breaks of “Phillips” and “Lincoln” (adult films tend to score well deeper into the weekend). Consider this a work in progress, with next weekend determining whether this is going to achieve expected Spielberg success.
Last week they were the lead story. This weekend they take a back seat to the openers. Their varied appeal took their toll, with the best of the holdovers, “The Intern,” continuing to do well with a 38% drop). But last weekend five films total fell less than that (“The Intern” similar the standout.
“The Martian” also stood out by holding on to second spot, falling 42%. It continues to do well, but lags in comparison with “Gravity” exactly two years ago, which was #1 its third weekend at $30 million and off 30%. “Hotel Transylvania 2,” off 40%, suffered from competition from fellow Sony release “Goosebumps.” The bottom of the barrel is “Pan,” off 62% from its disastrous start and now looking like its domestic gross will be under $40 million.