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Weekend Box Office: The Martian Holds Strong as New Releases Continue Dismal Debuts

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By Chris Kavan - 11/01/15 at 07:09 PM CT

If you thought last weekend was bad, better just skip to next weekend when Spectre (fresh off its huge international debut) is likely to reignite the box office. I know Halloween is supposed to be scary - but this weekend was a true horror show. The $62 million the top twelve brought in wasn't just running a hefty 22.5% behind last year, it's officially the worst weekend out of 2015. That was brought about by, again, the lackluster new releases, once again only which one managed to claw its way into the top five - and barely. October is supposed to be filled with screams - but not from Hollywood studios. This horror show is about to end, but I guess the results speak for themselves.

1) THE MARTIAN

I hope you're in the mood for déjà vu, as this weekend's box office is going to look a lot like last weekend. We start off with the certified hit, The Martian, which, other than a blip from Goosebumps, has managed o snag the top spot four out of its five weekends in theaters. Dropping another light 27.5%, The Martian added another $11.4 million to its total, which now stands at $182.8 million. Even with Spectre on the horizon, The Martian should pass Interstellar by next weekend, as well as finally topping Ridley Scott's list for highest-grossing movies. It is also sitting at a pretty $428.4 million worldwide and has a good chance at hitting $500 million before it's all over. Much like Gravity - perhaps this mostly solo space adventure will ride the goodwill towards Oscar gold - I really enjoyed it, so I hope for the best.

2) GOOSEBUMPS

And once again Jack Black and company took the second-place spot. Dipping 34.2%, Goosebumps added another $10.2 million to its coffers for a $57.1 million total - just shy of its $58 million budget. This one has been a much tougher sell overseas, with a nominal $9.2 million international total. That drop in the bucket probably doesn't come close to covering marketing costs, but it looks like Goosebumps should be able to make it into the black as it heads toward that $75 million mark. We'll see how badly The Peanuts Movie draws away its family audience next weekend (as well as losing out on its Halloween appeal). Still, it should be a nice get for Sony, who needs all the wins they can muster at this point.

3) BRIDGE OF SPIES

Again with the repeat? Yes, Bridge of Spies is still holding on to that third-place spot - dropping a light 29.1% over last weekend. The Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg team-up managed a $8 million weekend for a new total of $45.2 million - cruising past its $40 million budget. The $50 million mark should be crossed some time in the next week and its continued strength bodes well for an awards run. It's not exactly bursting at the seams, but the continued solid performance looks better on paper than, say, Steve Jobs or The Walk - we'll see how it pans out for the film.

4) HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2

Hold on! We have something different here as Hotel Transylvania 2 - the sequel that won't stop - jumped from 5th to 4th place even though it still lost 34.4% of its audience. The animated sequel has been on a roll - though The Peanuts Movie will likely, finally steal its thunder. Still, adding $5.83 million gives the film a new total of $156 million - Sony's biggest hit to date (will probably fall unless Spectre is a huge disappointment). It's somewhat disconcerting that Sony's entire positive lineup this year consists of this film, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Pixels (as bad as that was). That means without Adam Sandler and Kevin James - Sony would be in even worse shape. James Bond will bail them out somewhat, but the year has been a bit down for the studio.

5) BURNT

The only new film to crack the top five was Bradley Cooper's chef dramedy, Burnt. Still the $5 million debut isn't exactly cooking up much interest. The total was lower than Aloha ($9.6 million), which was also considered a disappointment earlier in the year. But, really, were they expecting much more? The film had little buzz, mostly negative reviews and was cliche (other than adding cooking to the mix). Frankly, I think it was lucky to hit $5 million. Expect Burnt to flame out quickly and exit theaters before November ends.

Outside the top five: Things were worse for Sandra Bullock, as Our Brand is Crisis could only scare up $3.43 million (8th place). That counts as the worst opening for the actress yet, whose previous low was $4.6 million for the 1996 film Two If by Sea (adjusted to $8.7 million if you count inflation). Once again, little-to-no- buzz and lackluster review likely contributed to the film's demise, as did the sheer glut of movies that decided to pile in to theaters at the end of October. The "C+" Cinemascore guarantees this will have a swift exit.

The other new wide release, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, fared even worse than Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. Both were released by Paramount in an experiment for a quick turnaround to VOD - but the experiment (as it is) have proven costly. Scouts Guide opened outside the top 10 to just $1.77 million (12th place). Hopefully it will have better lucky streaming - which should be available in a week or two.

Truth, the story behind the (falsified) George W. Bush military papers that CBS ran on 50 minutes, expanded from 18 to over 1100 theaters, but could only manage a weak $803 per-theater-average. It took in $900,914 (16th place) for a total of $1.15 million. I don't expect this to see any further expansion as it should quietly exit what theaters it gained.

Next weekend all eyes will be on James Bond as Spectre rides into theaters after a huge bow internationally (including a record $63.8 million UK opening) - sitting at $80.4 million from six territories. If that's any indication, it should mark a terrific domestic debut as well. If you're not into Bond, there is also The Peanuts Movie, which should have no problem bringing in the family crowd - for nostalgia if nothing else. One this is certain, next weekend will put the previous two to shame and ring in November with a resounding bang.

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