Weekend Report: “Martian” Takes Back First Against Onslaught of Disappointing New Releases

The Martian, Goosebumps and Bridge of Spies all had very strong holds on a quiet weekend, while five new nationwide releases pretty much flopped.

In first place was The Martian, which was down just 26% to $15.7M in its fourth weekend. Rarely does a film hold first for several weekends, lose it for one and then take it back again the following weekend, but The Martian is performing strongly enough to break many of those records. The film is currently up to a whopping $166M domestic and $384M worldwide, and still has a long way to go from here.

It was a very close race for first between The Martian and Goosebumps, but ultimately last weeks first place became this weeks second. Still, a 34% drop for Goosebumps is a great hold, as it was down to an excellent $15.5M in its second weekend. That brings its new domestic total to $43M. In most cases with a second drop, it would seem as though it would be headed for $100M domestic, but next week is going to prove interesting as Halloween falls on a Saturday. Typically audiences stay away from theaters on the actual day itself, but go to horror and fall themed films in the weeks ahead of time; for example, Nightcrawler was released on Halloween and had a massive 46% jump on the 1st of November, which is incredibly high even for an adult drama. If a similar strategy takes place next weekend, Goosebumps could have a fairly significant fall. Not to mention the weekend after that it faces direct competition from The Peanuts Movie. Despite all this, it is still performing solidly throughout these two weeks and could probably get to around $80M domestic.

Bridge of Spies dipped just 26% in its second weekend down to $11.3M. While it was obvious that it would hold well, this is a particularly impressive second weekend result. It will likely be able to bag another $30M easily, for a domestic total of over $50M.

The highest grosser of the new releases was The Last Witch Hunter, but that’s not much. The $70M action thriller took in just $10.8M, around half of what was expected. This is where I would say that its excellent overseas grosses saved it, but alas, I cannot. It took in just $14M overseas, which is a horrendous debut considering how that’s where films like this make 70% or more of their gross. It was originally reported as costing $90M, but was bumped down a bit over the weekend. Despite that smaller budget, it is still a flop domestically, and doesn’t really have a huge chance of turning things around at the foreign market either.

The most controversial new release was Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which proved to be lower than already low expectations. The film opened in just 1,656 theaters to a poor $8M, which at least gave it the best per theater average of any of the new releases. However, some were saying that expectations were set for a $20M wide weekend, but that never really seemed likely. Even if it played in the normal 3,000 theaters, it still wouldn’t have gotten close to that number. In reality, this lower number of theaters probably didn’t affect its gross nearly as much as Paramount would like you to believe that it did. Anyone who really wanted to see it probably had a theater close enough to watch it. One bright note is that was much less front loaded than the last few Activity films, with a drop of just 7% on Saturday. In comparison, most of the others fell well over 20% on their second day. It could potentially be slightly less front loaded than previous installments, but it will still probably make more than half of its gross over this weekend.

Possibly the most hyped release of the weekend, Steve Jobs, was very disappointing. The critically acclaimed biopic took in a very weak $7.1M from 2,493 theaters. In comparison to its very strong platform release, it seemed as though it would at least make $10M. Sicario had a similar strategy and opened to $12M (and is also curerntly at $39M so far) especially with its great marketing, awards buzz and strong cast. With a $30M budget, Steve Jobs is going to have to make a killing on home video in order to turn a profit, because mainstream interest was obviously skewered towards art house crowds, and this will likely disappear off the map within the next few weeks.

Rock the Kasbah and Jem and the Holograms scored among the worst opening weekends ever. Rock the Kasbah took in just $1.4M from 2,012 theaters for an atrocious $731 average, meaning each theater sold around 60 tickets or so. That’s even lower than my expectations which were already lower than pretty much any other expectations out there. That’s the fifth worst opening for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters, and is probably the bigger loser considering its budget was $15M, triple that of the $5M for Jem. Speaking of which, the heavily maligned 80s cartoon adaptation had the worst opening for any film playing in over 2,400 theaters, with a whopping $1.3M 15th place debut. Even with a $5M budget, that’s pretty startlingly low. Its per theater average was just $570, which is one of the worst per theater averages of all time. 2015 has held some of the highest and lowest openings ever, between We Are Your FriendsRock the Kasbah and Jem  all flopping, and others such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World (and probably Star Wars: The Force Awakens) ranking among the highest.

Last weeks disappointing Crimson Peak saved zero face this weekend $5.6M with a 57% drop. That’s pretty low between its decent word of mouth online and holding onto most IMAX screens. Still, that couldn’t help a lack of interest and too much competition that led to a very poor

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