Weekend Forecast: “Steve Jobs”, “Witch Hunter” to Top Newcomers

Five films go into nationwide release this weekend, but none of them are probably going to see any fantastic business. Meanwhile, last weekends Goosebumps and Bridge of Spies should continue to do strong business, and The Martian will likely continue its march towards $200M.

Among these four newcomers, Steve Jobs will probably wind up in the top spot. While it is the second film about the controversial CEO, it is the first to seem like it has any real meaning or legitimate depth to it, while 2013’s Jobs more looked like a cheap TV movie. Reviews are very solid so far, with a strong 85% certified fresh score after two weeks in very strong limited release. The record breaking per theater averages were slightly surprising, as this seems like something more geared for general audiences than the art house crowd, but obviously it was playing extremely well there, and will likely do solid business now. The other newcomers aren’t exactly setting expectations on fire, and with 5 new films on an already crowded weekend, most of them are bound to get lost in the fray.

Perhaps the most interesting release of the weekend is Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. Not that the film itself is at all interesting in any way, but rather that as some may have noticed, it is only getting a limited release in about 1,300 theaters this weekend. Comparatively, Paranormal Activity played at 2,700 theaters in its widest release, while every one of its sequels played in over 3,000 with the exception of The Marked Ones, which was only in around 2,800. So why the massive drop in theaters? Well, distributor Paramount opted to release the film on home video just 17 days after its theatrical run as opposed to the normal 90. This pissed off a lot of theaters, obviously, who chose not to show the film at all in protest of this decision. It is slightly odd, however. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Paranormal Activity 3 and Paranormal Activity 4 all made over half of their total gross from opening weekend, meaning that the majority of the audience is going to see it on opening weekend. Typically, disputes like this are worked out and swept under the rug, but that isn’t the case for The Ghost Dimension. Why? Because this happened just about a week ago, giving them no time to try and win back the theaters and instead just bracing for impact of a terrible weekend. Not like playing in wide release would’ve done much, as all of the sequels since 3 began seeing massive drops in attendance: $104M to $54M to $32M. If this new installment played similarly to those, it likely would’ve wound up with around $20M total, giving it a weekend in the $12M range. However with this huge drop in theaters, it could be looking at a weekend in the $5M range if not less. It seems as though the long running franchise is completely jumping the shark, even going so far as to add the 3D gimmick five years too late. With a horrible 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, this should make for an interesting writeup on Sunday.

The Last Witch Hunter seems to be a January movie that somehow snuck into October. The action thriller has a surprisingly large $90M budget, even though most of its grosses are going to come from the foreign audience. Effects heavy, star driven vehicles such as this clean up in certain markets while largely getting ignored domestically. It has the advantage of most Premium Large Format theaters this weekend, and it seems like something that would benefit from those larger screens. Of course it also seems like it would benefit from not being watched at all, but thats another story. What’s not a good sign is that you could tell 99% of people that it was a video game adaptation and they would believe you, as marketing chooses to show a barrage of CG heavy action set pieces in place of any sensible or legitimate story line. The Last Witch Hunter will probably gross a similar result to films like I, Frankenstein or Seventh Son, but with a small boost from Vin Diesel fans.

Rock the Kasbah is a new Bill Murray comedy about a music manager in the middle east and some other plot that I’m too lazy to look up out of sheer indifference. The film is currently sitting at a horrible 10% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has had an awful stigma of appearing like Murray is phoning in his performance from the first trailer, and hasn’t really done much to undo that. The only bright side is that the film cost just $15M to make, meaning losses will be minimum. Still, this won’t even register as a blip on the radar.

Finally, the fan-panned adaptation of Jem and the Holograms is somehow getting a wide theatrical release. For such obscure source material, it seems like something more suited to a direct to DVD or television release rather than a full fledged feature film, but with a budget of just $5M its obvious that Universal is just hoping to grab some nostalgia bucks. However, it isn’t even really clear who the audience is supposed to be; the television show has been irrelevant for several decades and doesn’t have any sort of modern young fanbase, while the PG rating and very obvious family-centric nature will likely keep nostalgiac adults away. So who is this movie for? Well, judging by its $5M budget, not many people. From the first trailer, fans were almost universally against this film, and it will likely show in its opening weekend numbers.


  1. Steve Jobs – $18M
  2. Goosebumps – $15M
  3. The Martian – $14M
  4. The Last Witch Hunter – $12M
  5. Bridge of Spies – $10M

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension – $7.2M

Jem and the Holograms – $3.1M

Rock the Kasbah – $2.7M

Bar for Success

Steve Jobs should get at least $15M to get a pass, which it should have no trouble with thanks to its excellent buzz and great reviews. The Last Witch Hunter has a very hefty $90M budget, and considering how front loaded its going to be needs $20M this weekend to get by.Paranormal Activity is fine at $15M, while Jem and the Holograms and Rock the Kasbah will be lucky to earn low single digits this weekend.


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