Weekend Report: “The Martian” Defies Gravity, “Sicario” Has Solid Expansion

With its simple yet well conveyed premise, fun tone and popular source material, The Martian blasted off with the second highest October debut ever, only behind Gravity by under $1M (though this may change when the actual numbers come out) regardless, the fact that this opened to over is a fantastic start no matter how you look at it. What’s especially impressive is that this heavily outgrossed the opening of Interstellar, which opened to $47M last November. Turns out audiences were just interested in seeing a simple, fun sci-fi adventure, and they showed up in droves. With a lack of major competition until the 16th (Bridge of Spies and Crimson Peak) it should hold well and has a very good shot at over $200M domestic. It also had a solid $45M overseas start, giving it a total worldwide opening of $100M. Considering its budget of $108M, that’s a great start. Look for The Martian to earn well over $300M worldwide. This is also good news for Ridley Scott, who hasn’t had a film that was both critically acclaimed and successful in a very long time. Critics and audiences loved it, with a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and an excellent A on Cinemascore. All around, there’s really nothing negative to say about this opening, and Fox has to be throwing a party right now (rightfully so).

After two weeks of solid business in limited release, Sicario opened in wide release and grossed a solid $12M. Director Denis Villenueve seems to be having luck with films that feature very heavy and morbid source material, from two families attempting to find their kidnapped daughters to violent, savage Mexican drug cartels. However, the film was very well marketed and $12M is a good start. That’s above last years Nightcrawler at $10.4M, another brutally violent crime drama with a semi popular star. If Sicario follows a similar pattern, it could wind up with around $40M domestic. Strangely, it received a very strong A- Cinemascore. The reason I say strangely is that having seen the film, I can confirm that it has a very disturbing and twisted tone, as well as a story that doesn’t seem like something that would play well with general audiences, but turns out I was wrong. It had a solid 9% jump on Saturday which is a good sign for playing well in the long run.

Hotel Transylvania 2 had a fantastic 32% hold this weekend down to $33M. That’s better than the 36% drop for the original Hotel Transylvania, which is surprising as sequels tend to be more front loaded than their predecessors. It’s $90M two week total is also way above the $76M for the original Hotel, and with this kind of drop could eventually gross well over $150M.

The Intern had a solid 35% drop down to $11M, bringing its new domestic total to $36M. It’s made about the same overseas, with a current worldwide total of $72M. It will likely continue to hold very well domestically and will likely wind up with around $70M. Its $35M budget is a bit hefty for the type of film  that it is, yet its performance has been solid enough to justify it so far.

The Walk was the only other opener this week, and it failed pretty hard. In 448 IMAX 3D screens, it took in just $1.95M over its five day start. That’s way below Everest, which took in $7.2M over its 3 day start. Sony was expecting around $3M going into the weekend, and missing that by such a (compartively) large margin has to be somewhat embarrassing. If it follows a similar path to Everest, it would open to less than $4M next weekend. Considering that it seemed like something that needed to be seen on a huge screen, The Walk may have squeezed out most of its audience this weekend. With a $35M budget, its hard to call this a major loss (especially if overseas grosses come to the rescue, as they typically do) but so far it isn’t looking good.

Documentary He Named me Malala opened to $56K in four theaters for a solid $14K per theater average. That’s a solid start, but likely wont make much in theaters. If it has a decent marketing campaign, it could do solid business in the Home Video market.

Freeheld opened to $40K start in 5 theaters with a so-so $8K per theater average. This film doesn’t have a famous enough story or any recognizable behind-the-camera talent to really catch the attention of the arthouse crowd, so this isn’t very surprising.

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