Weekend Wrap-Up

Box Office Implodes Despite Four New Titles (and Steve Jobs)

By John Hamann

October 25, 2015

Here I go again on my own.

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I am having nightmares of being trapped at a Jem and The Holograms screening and not being able to escape. From the box office result, it would appear everyone is having the same dream.

To keep box office momentum going throughout October, this weekend needed to be big, as next weekend is already doomed with Halloween landing on Saturday. Four new openers and Steve Jobs arrived and ended up scaring audiences away. This is really epic fail territory, as two of the four new releases join the worst openers of all-time list.

New product in wide release this weekend hit a massive 11,598 screens this weekend, as four new films hit theaters and were joined by an expanding Steve Jobs, which moved form 60 screens to 2,493. New films were not considered weaklings – they included Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter, horror stalwart Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Rock the Kasbah with Bill Murray and Bruce Willis, and Jem and the Holograms, based on… well, something from the past. Horror, comedy, action, and teen pop were available, and in this election, "none of the above" was chosen. That left the door wide open for The Martian (now in its fourth weekend) and the second weekend of Goosebumps.


Yes, due to the collapse of every new opener this weekend, the number one movie is The Martian. It’s hard to believe, but after being number one in its first and second weekends, it is back on top in its fourth session. The Matt Damon product earned another $15.9 million this weekend, off a spectacular 25% compared to last weekend. The hold is terrific, as The Martian has been in release for 24 days and should be packing it in, not spending time on top. On the other hand, Gravity, a box office comparison for The Martian, spent three weekends at number one and its fourth in second. It was earning more than The Martian is in weekend four ($20.1 million) as well. This result for the Ridley Scott film might mean better news for it Oscar-wise than financially, as a return to number one will garner more headlines.

The domestic total for the outer space blockbuster has reached $166.4 million and is on target to reach $200 million stateside. Overseas, The Martian’s total has surpassed $180 million, and it has been granted a release date in China on November 25th. Where the overseas gross finishes it still anyone’s guess, but Gravity earned $71 million in China, so $300 million plus shouldn’t be out of the question for an overseas take for The Martian. That would put the worldwide total at $500 million, making Fox’s $108 million investment a wise one.

Second is last weekend’s number one film, Goosebumps, which was looking to hold as Halloween approaches. It did only okay in the depreciation department this weekend, as it fell 34% to $15.5 million this weekend. That hold could have been better, as Goosebumps didn’t debut to $50 million plus last weekend but instead opened with $23.6 million. However, given that just about everything is down at the box office, and the fact that Goosebumps has Halloween week to itself until Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse opens Friday (but that will likely do Jem and the Holograms-type business), this $58 million product should do okay, but will likely top out at around $70 million, depending on post-Halloween behavior. The potential problem is that it will then need another $85 million plus overseas for Sony to see a theatrical profit. For now, Goosebumps has earned $43.7 million.

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