Weekend Wrap-Up

The Martian Blasts Off at the Box Office

By John Hamann

October 4, 2015

WTF? They didn't estimate us for the record?

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Gravity’s first weekend run was really amazing. After posting a $17.5 million first day (keeping in mind $1.4 million of that came on Thursday), Gravity still popped incredibly on Saturday, earning $23 million – a 31% increase over Friday. Without the Thursday preview amounts, Gravity’s jump to Saturday is a ludicrous 42.8%, which led to an internal weekend multiplier of 3.2. That multiplier is much higher than the standard for a film not aimed at kids over opening weekend. Normally, internal weekend multipliers for openers stay below 3.0, as more people come out on Fridays for new product. Had The Martian enjoyed the same multiplier as Gravity, it would have finished with $57.6 million for its first three days. However, on Saturday, The Martian earned $22.3 million (up 23% from Friday), and the writing was on the wall.

Over the weekend proper, The Martian may have not been able to catch Gravity, but it certainly put up a good chase. The Martian earned $55 million over its first three days from 3,831 screens (about 250 more than Gravity). That makes The Martian the second biggest October opener of all time, just barely behind Gravity. In fact, it might wind up the winner when actual box office revenue is announced on Monday. It stayed ahead of Paranormal Activity 3, which took in $52.6 million, and is only the second non-sequel to open to more than $50 million in the month of October.

The Martian becomes Matt Damon’s biggest opener since The Bourne Ultimatum opened to $69.3 million in 2007, and is just ahead of The Bourne Supremacy's $52.5 million as Damon’s second biggest opener. For director Ridley Scott, The Martian beats his previous bigger opener, Prometheus, as that one opened to $51.1 million in 2012. Lastly, for Fox, The Martian cost $108 million to make, and with this debut, the reviews and the Cinemascore, they will make out like bandits, as Gravity went on to earn over $700 million worldwide.


Finishing second this weekend is Hotel Transylvania 2, which actually held quite well, given that it’s a sequel and stars Adam Sandler. Transylvania 2 earned $33 million in its second frame, down a decent 32% compared to last weekend. The original, which opened to $42.5 million, fell 36% in weekend two to $27.1 million, so it would appear the sequel is following a similar pattern. The original earned $148 million domestically, and this one should do the same. Overseas, I expect the sequel to earn more than the $210 million the original earned, and it already has $60 million from over there. Domestically, Hotel Transylvania 2 has pulled in $90.5 million against an $80 million budget.

Third goes to the expander, Sicario, which jumped from 59 screens last weekend to 2,620 venues this weekend. With the expansion, Sicario lifted its weekend take from $1.7 million last weekend to $12.1 million this weekend, an increase of 603%. Sicario is ticking the boxes for a Best Picture nomination – it opened successfully in New York and LA, and then continued that success via its small expansion. This is the tougher jump this weekend, but Sicario managed the expansion nicely for its brand of entertainment (R-rated, political intrigue, action-drama). These types of films are not easy to open, or to even sustain from a limited release to a wide release. Given the middling venue count it has now, Lionsgate can either choose to expand it further in the weeks ahead, or take their success and go home. So far, Sicario has earned $15.1 million, a not bad take against its $30 million budget.

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