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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by MartianBumps Klady

Weekend Estimates 2015-10-25 at 8.57.29 AM

Woe to the box office analyst in certain periods annually… now… early September… first weekend of December… traditionally early January, though not so much anymore.

The Martian, an undeniable major hit, is at the top of the chart for the 3rd time in its 4 weekends. Impressive? Strong. But Pan and The Last Witch Hunter shocked no one by not making it interesting. 25% drop in weekend 4 is excellent. But it ain’t Gravity. It’s absurd to do anything but praise The Martian‘s numbers and Fox’s management of same. But it’s hard to get wild and crazy about a weekend with top gross of $15.9 million.

Good on Goosebumps. But it’s running at about half of the same studio’s other fall family film, Hotel Transylvania 2… which by the way, will pass the original’s gross tomorrow. Solid… but…

Bridge of Spies pretty much embodies the “nice, nice” tone of the box office right now. They are, roughly, at the same place Munich was after two weeks of wide release. (Munich had 2 weeks at 532 screens, grossing $16m, then the first 2 weeks wide added $17 million.) Munich, of course, got nominated for Best Picture and more. But then again, it was a Christmas release, causing Academy members to vote for the movie, not months of hype stretching through a season. Bridge of Spies probably will pass $50 million domestic before Thanksgiving… but not by much. And for a Cold War drama, that’s nice. Nice.

Then there are this weekend’s newcomers. Oy.

The Last Witch Hunter is right in the middle of the Lionsgate’s 8 releases this year… though the high for the year was $13.2 million for The Age of Adaline, so… grain of salt even for that. The Hunger Games is coming to make sure Christmas isn’t ruined for the studio, but LGF/Summit seems more like MGM in “sell the studio” with one year on and one year off, just investing enough to keep potential buyers interested, than anything else. They have done a nice job on Sicario, but for a company that made a lot of noise for a while, things are awfully quiet over there.

Paramount markets their stunts better than anyone in town. They have taken two potential direct-to-VOD titles, starting with Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (or PA6), and convinced the media that they were making a brave leap into the cutting edge of distribution by getting one (Chinese-owned) chain to buy into a 2-week VOD window, losing 2/3 of their best screens, but not much caring because they didn’t expect to make much in theatrical on this film anyway. The last Paranormal (#5) did less than double opening weekend. It is impossible to determine whether the discussion of the release pattern and the lost screens affected the opening gross of this film… especially given that the last sequel opening was down 38% from the one before. So would this opening have been $11.4 million had they just gone ahead like usual? How much more will the VOD be with a short window (albeit after Halloween)? I suspect the math will work for Paramount. But this movie fits into the mold of the indie VOD model… cheap with low expectations. This could be a foot in the door for NATO theaters to agree to allow a certain level of release at the studios go VOD early… that is really the play here, in my opinion. The danger in that, however, is that while the low-end of theatricals might work in a system like this for major exhibitors, it could decimate indie arthouse theaters, sell a significant percentage of their annual ticket sales for Sony Classics, Searchlight, and Focus movies, which could be pushed to bigger chains and shorter windows if there is an official agreement on this kind of thing.

Steve Jobs is not a happy story this weekend. The huge 4-screen success of 2 weekends ago was no mirage… but it was instructive about the hard core of the audience for this movie. This weekend is not a car wreck either. But no one could spin is as “good” or “happy.” It’s underwhelming. And it brings serious questions with it about the potential domestic total for this film. Can it get to $30 million? How will Academy voters feel about this? I don’t know. The whole thing needs some breathing room. I don’t know that Universal can realistically turn this ship commercially. But there is so much quality in this film that awards are still in reach. A Best Picture win, however, may now be a long shot.

Also stumbling out of the blocks was Rock The Kasbah, which reminds us that Bill Murray really needs some attention from Tarantino or PT Anderson or someone who can find a frame that will show his greatness, as Sofia Coppola and Wes Anderson once did.

And… Jem & The Holograms.

Suffragette was the winner of the per-screen sweepstakes this weekend. But again, at $18,570l, no one is out buying Bentleys.

Truth tripled their screen count to 18, but cut the per-screen nearly in half. The numbers so fr look a bit like SPC’s Testament of Youth, which never got past 104 screens or $2 million domestic. My guess is that Truth will get a wider play than that, given the star power. But is there even $5 million in this one? Not too sure about that.

Meanwhile, Grandma continues to swing along with a $6.6 million total and still growing.

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17 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by MartianBumps Klady”

  1. Spacesheik says:

    Jeez, what the hell happened with ‘Steve Jobs’?

  2. Dr Wally Rises says:

    This movie year has been a strange one, in that we’ve seen an almost unprecedented number of legendary or close to legendary directors from previous decades have their movies not just fizzle but get utterly brutalized.

    Michael Mann.
    Tim Burton.
    Cameron Crowe.
    Robert Zemeckis.
    Barry Levinson.

    Ridley Scott bucked the trend and it looks like Spielberg has at least a modest success by most people’s standards. Still up at bat this year: Tarantino, Mallick and Ron Howard. Coincidence, or are we witnessing the diminishing power of the old guard of the eighties and nineties before our eyes?

  3. movieman says:

    Wally- Burton’s “Big Eyes” was actually a 2014 release, but point taken.

  4. Kevin says:

    Malick? Isn’t his movie coming out only in 2016?

  5. dinovelvet says:

    “Jeez, what the hell happened with ‘Steve Jobs’?”

    Wild guess – people outside the insular movie and tech industries do not really care to pay to experience the problems of a millionaire asshole?

    (Anyone write a “Box office blow for Jobs” headline yet?)

  6. poet67 says:

    Universal is having a rough month.

  7. Hcat says:

    Doc Wally, half of those names have been brutalized previously. Howard has certainly had his DOAs, Levinson hasn’t been in any happy conversation in the last decade, Crowe has been struggling since Elizabethtown from what 04, Malick is routinely ignored (though can you really call him a filmmaker of the eighties and nineties when he only had one film in those two decades), and it seems like Ridleys entire history is stalls and comebacks. This rejection isnt some spontanious occurance, they have been trailing off for some time. That they are still getting these budgets to make these films is a triumph in itself.

  8. PcChongor says:

    Has anyone seen the international numbers for “Everest”? Holy hell, how is that not an even bigger story than The Terminator’s Chinese success?

    Still not a great success for the film, but it’s not even close to being the disaster that some initially tried to peg it as being.

  9. Lynch VanSant says:

    Big Eyes isn’t the typical big-budget Burton fantasy…so that it didn’t wow at the box office isn’t a surprise. Ed Wood only made $6 million and it was a great movie. Michael Mann, though I love his earlier movies hasn’t made a really good movie in a decade (Public Enemies was just so-so). It’s sad that in this new millenium few new directors are given a chance to develop their own unique styles. The big studios just don’t support young talent except for gobbling up the occasional director with one indie success and throwing them into a big budget monstrosity which is generic pablum or the occasional disaster. Cable television takes more risks now and is producing better adult product…which is probably going to be the home for such projects as Steve Jobs in the future. End of rant.

  10. movieman says:

    I paid a mere $3 to see “Ghost Dimension” yesterday at an independently owned/operated theater specializing in subruns. ($3 is their top-tier general admission price.) The big chains (Regal and Cinemark) in town wouldn’t touch it.
    Besides opening in 1,000+ less screens than previous “PA”s, I wonder how much of last weekend’s flat box office take was effected by the fact that many of the theaters playing it nationally were also charging substantially lower prices than your average Regal, Cinemark, et al.?

  11. Greg says:

    Pc: just saw Everest last night with a group of six and we all loved it.. That box office total is a stunner for me.. Although repeat viewings on that one have to be nonexistent.

  12. movieman says:

    Speaking of Paramount movies w/ leprosy, “Scouts Guide” looks kinda/sorta fun.
    In an alternate universe, it looks like the type of movie that could’ve been a sleeper hit.
    But I’m guessing it’ll probably open as badly as “Jem and the Holograms” and/or “Rock the Kasbah,” though.

  13. Tuck Pendleton says:

    Steve Jobs – my gut tells me lack of star power. Yes, I know who Fassbender is as is anyone reading these words on a movie blog, but many, many people don’t. Had it been Leo or Bale or even Cumberbatch, more would have wanted to see… not MUCH more, but more.

    I’m curious if this nixes the Fassbender as front-runner for best actor talk.

    I have a nine-month old at home, so that’s my excuse. I was dying to see The Walk, Sicario and The Martian on the big screen as well as Steve Jobs, I still might for any of them…but might nights out are slim. I did see Bridge of Spies, which I liked and respected but not loved.

  14. JS Partisan says:

    Limited releasing, for the most part, does not work. Steve Jobs had no reason to fucking open limited, because that movie is about STEVE JOBS! Once that movie opened two weeks in the major markets before the rest of the country. The moment had already passed for this film. If it was an Oscar limited release? Could have worked differently, but this strategy was just stupid on a grand level.

  15. Mike says:

    I don’t get why they opened Steve Jobs so early. Why not wait until “Oscar Season” when there might be more of an audience?

  16. Tracker Backer says:

    “I don’t get why they opened Steve Jobs so early. Why not wait until “Oscar Season” when there might be more of an audience?”

    Perhaps because there are already several other big contenders coming out during “Oscar Season,” and it wouldn’t have stood out there, either.

  17. Triple Option says:

    Was Steve Jobs the movie Sorkin was whining to Amy Pascal that nobody knew who the hell Michael Fassbender was?

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