While I hate sounding like a broken record, this weekend will once again see the release of many new films. October 2015 is easily one of the most crowded months in recent memory, with a whopping 16 nationwide releases. The final weekend will see the debuts of three of those, Our Brand is Crisis, Burnt and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Of these three, Crisis and Burnt are likely going to be on top, but they will still likely all lose to the reigning strength of The Martian.
Halloween is a historically low day for the box office, as moviegoers tend to avoid the day itself en masse. Last year’s only wide release was Nightcrawler, which happened to be released on Halloween day. The film grossed a meager $3.2M on its opening day, but shot a whopping 46% up on Saturday (November 1) en route to a solid $10.4M weekend. If the box office plays similarly, than the three new releases may see large drops on Saturday, but there is also the factor of more people being available in the morning and afternoon on Saturday, as opposed to more or less strictly night time for most adult audiences on Friday.
Our Brand is Crisis, the new Sandra Bullock political comedy drama is a new ‘based-on-a-true-story’ very much in the vein of Argo. The film blatantly markets the fact that some of its producers were from that film, which was extremely popular and the Best Picture winner from 2012. What’s interesting is that the title Our Brand is Crisis comes from a 2005 documentary of the same story, meaning this film is essentially a dramatization of this real life story using the same name as that documentary, which is something that makes it unique. Going back to Argo, that film opened to a solid $19M, but had spectacular holds throughout the season that lead it to make a whopping $136M, for an opening weekend percent of total gross of an unprecedented 14%. Crisis will likely end up nowhere near that, as the story is not as immediately interesting or well marketed, and its 30% Rotten Tomatoes score pretty much negates any chance of Oscar Buzz or strong lasting power. Despite all of this, Sandra Bullock does have a massive following who may show up to help this weekend. Look for Crisis to open in the high single digits.
Also opening this weekend is the Bradley Cooper cooking drama Burnt, about a struggling alcoholic chef attempting to regain his popularity and become a star. That is a decent enough premise, but cooking dramas historically have poor results in theaters, and it doesn’t look like Burnt is going to be any different. The $20M drama has just 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is surprising given its obvious star appeal of Bradley Cooper and obvious Oscar bait, but it seems as though that isn’t happening.
Finally, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is getting released in 1,500 theaters despite a planned nationwide release. Stop me if this sounds familiar: a Paramount release is getting a much more limited release than originally expected, due to the fact that Paramount wanted to release the film far on home media far earlier than is normal. Yes, they are actually going with the same exact release strategy as Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. As someone who lives in a very movie-centric area with around 6 theaters within about half an hour driving distance, the closest theater showing Scouts is 22 miles away, giving an idea of how this film is going to play out this weekend. Not only that, but the films intentionally campy, low budget appeal really seems like something more suited to a simultaneous On Demand/Limited Theatrical release, and the fact that it is getting released in 1,500 theaters is very surprising.
- The Martian – $12M
- Goosebumps – $11.5M
- Bridge of Spies – $9M
- Our Brand is Crisis – $8.5M
- Hotel Transylvania 2- $6.5M
Burnt – $4.2M
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse – $2.5M