Weekend Report: “Goosebumps” Narrowly Wins First on Crowded October Weekend

Audiences shared the wealth this weekend, as they turned out in big numbers to a cornucopia of appealing choices.

Among the newcomers, Goosebumps fared the best with a solid $23.5M debut. While that was on the lower end of expectations, it is still a solid debut all things considered. The film cost $58M to produce and should have strong holds over the next few weeks. It received a great A Cinemascore, meaning audiences were very happy with the final product. Pulling off any sort of children’s horror movie is no easy task, as trying to find a balance of what is too scary varies greatly from child to child. Goosebumps made a few very good choices such as moving to October from August, which is a much more fitting release. Other similar films such as ParaNorman or Monster House made the unfortunate mistake of being not only too focused on being scary but were also Halloween films that were bizarrely released in late summer. The idea of all of the famous monsters from the books coming to life and a group of characters (including author R.L Stine) having to stop them was an inherently fun premise, and was also helped by advertising that highlighted the films adventure and humor more than anything else. It also managed to avoid being cannibalized by Hotel Transylvania 2, another Sony Pictures release that is still performing well. Look for Goosebumps to finish in the $80M range. If overseas grosses are strong (and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be) than Goosebumps may just see a few more installments.

In second place, The Martian was still strong with a 40% drop down to $21.5M. The film is up to $143M so far, also helped by strong weekday performance. That’s about $23M higher than Interstellar was at the same point, but around $25M lower than Gravity. The film has kept a relatively even pace, and is still on pace for over $200M domestic. It’s also up to $272M worldwide, which is sure to keep going up and up over the next few weeks.

In third place, Bridge of Spies opened with a decent $15.3M. This seems like the kind of film that would be a slam dunk given the attachment of Spielberg and Tom Hanks, but came out on a weekend with tons of competition that clearly slowed its debut this weekend. The $40M espionage thriller will most likely hold very well in the weeks to come, and should be able to top $50M domestically.

In fourth place, Crimson Peak disappointed with $12.85M in fourth place. That’s a poor start for the $55M gothic drama, which was likely slowed by its poor early word of mouth that the film was not originally what it had been sold as. Universal ran constant commercials as a scary, intense horror film, when in reality it is less about horror and more a romantic drama with some horror elements. If Universal had sold it as what it was it probably would have done much better, as false advertising is something that is always undone within hours of release. In the age of the internet, word of mouth spreads fast, which was clearly apparent by the films solid Thursday night debut which took up a large percentage of its Friday gross, and in turn saw a small drop on Saturday. The film is likely to fall off the map pretty quickly, and at this point is relying exclusively on foreign grosses to try and turn a profit. Between this debut, the cancellation of Pacific Rim 2, Silent Hills and Hellboy 3, Del Toro has not had a lucky streak to say the least.

Hotel Transylvania 2 took a decent 40% hit down to $12.25, mostly because of direct competition from Goosebumps, but is still up to an excellent $136M in three weeks. That’s significantly above the $118M of the original Hotel Transylvania at the same time. It is also doing well overseas, giving it a $267M worldwide total so far. Don’t be at all surprised when a third installment is greenlit in the next few weeks.

After its disappointingly low opening weekend, Pan did not save any face in its second weekend, plummeting 61% down to $5.9M, for an atrocious domestic total of $25M. Overseas grosses aren’t doing it any favors, with just $50M in two full weeks of release. Considering it has a massive $150M production budget and likely $50M+ spent on marketing, this is a disaster through and through.

The Intern had yet another strong hold, down 38% to $5.4M in its fourth weekend of release, bringing its new domestic total to a strong $58M. Considering that worldwide it’s already up to $116M, this is a very excellent result. The film has yet to drop more than 40%, which is a great sign for word of mouth. It will probably be able to squeeze out another $15-$20M or so before the end of its run.

In its third weekend of wide release, Sicario dipped 41% to $4.5M for a new domestic total of $34.6M, and a worldwide total of over $50M. The modestly budgeted action drama will likely turn a profit in the next few weeks if it can continue to do strong business.

The final new release this weekend was football drama Woodlawn, which opened in ninth place with a soft $4.1M. That’s more or less in line with expectations, but is way lower than War Room‘s $11M debut from two months ago. Given that it had a smaller emphasis on the faith aspect, that isn’t shocking, but it still isn’t a great debut. Considering it had a pretty heft $25M budget, it will have a very hard time breaking even or coming close to its goal. Distributor Pure Flix is likely banking on word of mouth and home markets to do the job, because unless Woodlawn makes more than ten times its opening weekend.

Finally, Steve Jobs did strong business in its second weekend of platform release, grossing $1.5M from 60 theaters, for a strong per theater average of $25K. The biopic is set to go wide next weekend, but it is unsure if these strong weekends with the arthouse crowd will translate to a strong debut with general audiences. For example, Sicario did fantastic business in two weeks of limited release but took in a relatively soft $12M in wide release. Expectations for Steve Jobs are currently in the mid $20M range, which may be a bit high, but only time will tell.

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