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Weekend Box Office: The Martian Continues to Soar, Pan Crash Lands

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By Chris Kavan - 10/11/15 at 07:57 PM CT

Chalk another one up to Matt Damon and Ridley Scott as The Martian easily held on to the top spot at the box office. The only competition coming in was from Pan - and it looks like the origin story that nobody asked for got exactly what it deserved as it flopped pretty hard. The other big news over the weekend was the terrific limited debut of Steve Jobs. The latest from Danny Boyle (with Michael Fassbender taking on the role of the acerbic tech mogul) not only had the best limited debut of the year - but one of the best live-action limited releases of all time. It's about to get very crowded, so we'll see how that affects both the good (and bad) at the box office.


After opening in near-record fashion last weekend, The Martian continued its impressive run, dipping only about 32% in its second weekend. That was enough for the film to cross the $100 million mark. It took in $37 million for a new total of $108.7 million. By comparison, that puts it about $12 million ahead of Interstellar, though it is still trailing Gravity (which earned $43 million in its second weekend). Still, there is no doubt that the Matt Damon-led film is a hit. It has already equaled its $108 million budget and, if it keeps on track, should be able to hit $200 million and even has a chance to become Damon's highest-grossing film if it can catch the $227.4 million of The Bourne Ultimatum. I have a feeling with Steve Jobs on the horizon it will probably fall short of that mark, but you also can't count it out. I personally thought it was one of the best films of the year (though competition in that department is sure to heat up soon) and hope it translates to some nominations come awards season. We'll see if enough people agree with me to continue to boost this one.


Also keeping fast hold of its second-place spot was the animated sequel, Hotel Transylvania 2. The film, again, had a great hold, dipping just under 39% in its third weekend out and it also crossed the $100 million mark in the process. That translated to a $20.3 million weekend and a new $116.8 million total. It continues to track ahead of the original film - $14 million ahead at this point - and when international numbers are taken into account this is all but assured to become the highest-grossing film in Adam Sandler's career. With his live action career all but dead, maybe Sandler's future lies in animation. Hey, I can hope, right? October should continue to be a good month for the film.

3) PAN

Pan is aptly titled for a film that was on a terrible track coming into the weekend. Both audiences and critics seemed to be confused as to why this film was being made - and not even Hugh Jackman could save this one (perhaps if they gave him some Admantanium claws?). It was tracking in the low $20-million range coming into the weekend, but it was much, much worse. Pan could only muster a terrible $15.5 million opening. That opening is worse than recent "bomb" films like Tomorrowland ($33 million), John Carter ($30 million), The Lone Ranger ($29 million) and Jack the Giant Slayer ($27 million). And like all those films, the budget of Pan was an astounding $150 million. I guess the plan of moving this from July 24 to October was a bad idea - though I doubt it would have done too much better over the summer. Even if it hits it out of the park in international markets, the film is going to be lucky to hit $50 million domestically and I would say a total near $40 million is more likely. Considering its PG rating, it really didn't draw out many children. The audience was 55% female, but also 52% over 25 - not exactly the kind of audience you expect for this kind of film. I expect this to fall hard and fast. Goosebumps should steal what little thunder it amassed and it will join Tomorrowland and Fantastic Four among the biggest disappointments of the year.


The pleasant Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway workplace comedy also continues to hold steady. It had just a 26% drop in its third weekend and brought in $8.66 million for a new total of $49.5 million. Give it another day to hit the $50 million mark. Considering the steady pace, the $35 million picture should wind up nearly doubling its budget by the time it exits theaters. It's a great return on a smaller investment, yet studios continue to rely on films like Pan to drive things. Even with massive losses, big budgets equal bigger returns and it's too bad - even if The Intern isn't my particular types of film, its the kind of films that deserve more recognition.


The gritty drug cartel action/drama slipped 39.5% and dropped two spots to fifth place in its second weekend in wide release. That's a solid hold for the dark film and the $7.35 million helped it to cross the $25 million mark for a new total of $26.7 million. Adults are about to get a lot more choices in the next few weekends, so I expect Sicario to drop a bit more quickly from here. Still, a total near the $40 million mark is likely. The buzz was good going in, but I with the stiff competition, I just don't know if it is going to warrant any awards. We'll just have to wait and see on this one.

Outside the top five: Good news for fans of biopics. It looks like Steve Jobs is going to be one of the better films of the year. Granted, I'm basing this on the absolutely amazing $521,000 the film brought in from just four theaters. That was good enough for 16th place for the weekend and also amounted to a $130,250-per-theater average - the sixth biggest average for a live-action film of all time. The film continues to expand next week and will finally go wide October 23rd. I was looking forward to this one, now I'm putting it on my "must see" radar.

The Walk expanded wide this weekend as well, a week after its disappointing IMAX debut. The disappointments continue, as The Walk could only muster a weak $3.65 million. Sure, it jumped from 11th to 7th place, but that gives it only a $6.36 million. The film only cost $35 million, so it's not going to exactly take a bath, but given the strong reviews one would have hoped for better results from this one.

No other milestone news to report this weekend. Next weekend is going to get crowded as the horror film Crimson Peak, the Cold War drama Bridge of Spies, the family-friendly Halloween yarn Goosebumps and (in just above limited release) inspirational Woodlawn all open. As with such a crowded field, there can only be so many winners, we'll see what wins out.


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