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Weeked Box Office: The Martian Scores Near Record, The Walk Stumbles in IMAX

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By Chris Kavan - 10/04/15 at 08:49 PM CT

It was good news for people who finally wanted a decent movie set on Mars. On the other hand, despite some good reviews, an IMAX-only opening put The Walk far in the shadow of Everest. Still, it was an excellent start for October not just because of The Martian, but also great news for the expansion of Sicario and the strong hold of Hotel Transylvania 2. All told, though no records were broken (unless the numbers Monday tell a different tale), it looks like the month is going to be a productive one for Hollywood.

1) THE MARTIAN

There was a lot of buzz going in to The Martian and it amounted to a $55 million first-place debut. As it stands, that is second only to Gravity ($55.7 million) as the best October opening on record. It is also the second-best opening for star Matt Damon (behind The Bourne Ultimatum at $69 million) and director Ridley Scott (behind Hannibal at $58 million). It brought in an audience that was 56% male and 72% over 25 - and also earned an impressive "A" Cinemascore. If it plays out similar to Gravity, its looking at total between the $250 - $260 million range. Even if it doesn't quite have that impressive of a run, it should still near the $250 million mark. The big new to me is I can finally watch a movie about Mars that doesn't stink - hallelujah!

2) HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2

The animated sequel continued to outpace the original after having a great hold in its second weekend. Dropping just 32%, Hotel Transylvania 2 took in $33 million for a new total of $90.5 million. That outpaces the original film by $14 million. Considering the first film ended up at $148.3 million, expect this to near the $170 million mark, especially as there is pretty much no competition until Goosebumps drops on October 16th. It's also good news for Sony, as the film passed the disappointing Pixels ($77 million) as their top film of the year (well, at least until Spectre hits theaters). A bright spot, to be sure, and one that looks like it has plenty of legs left in it.

3) SICARIO

After a couple of weeks in limited release, Sicario finally expanded nationwide, and it arrived with a bang. The adult crime/drama rocketed up to third place (a 603% increase after adding over 2600 theaters to its count) with $12.1 million. That gives the film a new total of $15.1 million. Going from the arthouse crowd to mainstream can often be a rough transition, but audiences approved, awarding Sicario with a solid "A-" Cinemascore. It will have some competition - not just from The Martian, but also the upcoming Steve Jobs (also targeting an adult crowd). Still, even if the market gets crowded, Sicario is looking at a total in the $35-$50 million range - enough to top its $30 million budget at least. With some big movies still on the horizon, we'll see if there is enough buzz come awards season for the grim cartel film.

4) THE INTERN

Also enjoying a rather strong hold was the Nancy Meyers' comedy The Intern. Dipping just 34.5%, The Intern added $11.62 million to its total, which now stands at $36.5 million. It is till tracking ahead of both Something's Gotta Give ($33 million) and The Holiday ($25 million). It will be tough to top the $124 million of Something's Gotta Give (which had a steady hold across its release) but it should approach the $90 million mark. It has already surpassed its $36 million budget, so whatever it adds from here will simply be icing on the cake.

5) MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS

Hanging around the top five for one more week, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, took a 46.4% hit and dipped two spots. The $7.65 million helped it to a new total of $63.24 million. That puts it behind The Maze Runner by a good 14% and it should wind up around the $80 million mark. Still, it has the benefit of having a better international run so even if it wind up behind domestically for the the world-wide total it's going to continue to improve on the original. It also made it to its $61 million budget, so it spells good news for the series leading up to its (supposed) final film.

Outside the top five: The Walk debuted in 448 IMAX-only screens, but could only scare up $1.55 million for the weekend (almost $2 million with its early Wednesday opening taken into account). That is well short of the $7.2 million Everest brought in. I would say The Walk was a much harder sell - Everest was full of big names and in-your-face action while The Walk had Joseph Gordon-Levitt and apparently was causing people to get sick due to vertigo. We'll see, however, if The Walk recovers when it goes wide - I think it has a better chance than Everest of capturing a decent crowed, but time will tell.

In milestone news, Black Mass crossed the $50 million mark by taking in $5.9 million (6th place) for a new total of $52.5 million, just shy of its $53 million budget.

Next week The Walk goes wide while Pan (the biggest-budgeted film ever to release in October) hopes to make some magic with the family audience.

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