October 25, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10/25/15


OPENINGS:  Nothing improved for the weekend’s newcomers after Friday’s dim numbers.  THE LAST WITCH HUNTER (QED/Summit/Lionsgate) led with a soft $10.8M, and whether or not Lionsgate is being entirely frank when it claims to have little exposure, someone is going to be feeling a tug on their wallet.  The results overseas, not unexpectedly, were a bit better:  $13.4M in 53 territories, and with some strong markets still to open like Russia, France, Australia and Brazil.  Nevertheless, even if Witch Hunter‘s worldwide box office could climb as high as $150M, it would still lose money (production and worldwide marketing costs combined are in the neighborhood of $175M)–and hopes of a Vin Diesel franchise that doesn’t involve fast and furious autos are done.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION (Blumhouse/Paramount) had a much lower production cost than Witch Hunter, and thanks to Paramount’s deal for a swift VOD window, its marketing expenses will also be sliced.  So its $8.2M opening (at a bit more than half the theatres of Witch Hunter, since not all chains would agree to the VOD strategy) was unimpressive but not terrible.  Overseas, where it’s having a more conventional release, the results were stronger with $18M in 33 markets covering less than half the world.

The weekend’s saddest failure was the expansion of STEVE JOBS (Legendary/Universal), now in a nationwide release with a weak $7.3M, less than one-third the $22.4M opening of The Social Network.  Universal just wasn’t able to make audiences outside of NY/LA excited about the film, which joins Everest and The Walk as an underachieving awards candidate.  With only a handful of major titles yet to be seen, Oscar season is still looking for a frontrunner, and the studio will have to decide whether to keep supporting Steve Jobs with a high-level marketing campaign as the weeks and months go by and the box office dwindles.

ROCK THE KASBAH (Open Road) was lucky to open on the same weekend as JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS (Blumhouse/Universal), which managed to have an even more terrible start.  Kasbah sold $1.5M of tickets for a $750 per-theatre average, but that looked positively Force Awakens-ian compared to Jem, which staggered to $1.3M in 400 more theatres, giving it a historically bad average (for a big-studio, 2000+-theatre release) of $547.  Jem was produced and marketed about as cheaply as a major studio is capable of doing, but at those numbers it doesn’t matter.

HOLDOVERS:  With one exception, the carnage among the new arrivals was great news for the holdovers, none of the rest of which dipped more than 35% from last weekend.  THE MARTIAN (TSG/20th) regained the weekend lead at $15.9M (down a miniscule 25%), which puts it at $166.4M in the US, with a $200M total a real possibility if it doesn’t get blown away by Spectre in 2 weeks.  Overseas, it earned $30.2M in 72 territories covering most of the world (but not yet China or Japan), for a running total of $218.8M, and it could end up over $600M worldwide.

The family aimed-brethren GOOSEBUMPS (Columbia/Sony) and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 (Columbia/Sony) both enjoyed the lack of any competition in their genre.  Goosebumps fell just 34% in its 2d weekend to $15.5M ($43.7M so far), plus $5.8M in 24 markets overseas.  (It’s having a gradual international release that won’t take it around the world until early 2016.)  Transylvania slipped 29% to $9M in the US ($148.3M so far), plus $28.7M ($167.5M so far) in most of the world but not yet China or Japan.  By tomorrow, the sequel should pull ahead of the first Transylvania in the US, and it’s on track to get past the $210.1M overseas mark as well.

BRIDGE OF SPIES (DreamWorks/20th/Disney) decisively beat Steve Jobs for the older audience, declining a terrific 26% to $11.4M in the US ($32.6M so far).  Bridge isn’t going to be a blockbuster hit, but if Disney can stir some enthusiasm from critics groups, it could run well into December and stay alive for an Oscar push.  It’s in only 23 territories overseas, where it earned $5.1M.

THE INTERN (RatPac-Dune/Warners) and SICARIO (Lionsgate) are at the tail end of their runs, but still holding well.  Intern dropped 29% to $3.9M ($64.7M so far), and could end up at $75M in the US, and it’s doing quite well overseas at $91.1M after a $7.1M weekend in 66 markets.  Sicario was down 35% to $3M, with $39.4M so far in the US and $23.1M in its early overseas run.

The exception to all this good news was CRIMSON PEAK (Legendary/Universal), which collapsed by 57% in its 2d weekend to $5.7M, and at $22.5M, it’s accounting records are going to be bloodier than its story.  Overseas didn’t help, at just $7.8M for the weekend in 62 markets for a $26.4M total.  PAN (RatPac-Dune/Warners) also won’t be bailed out in international waters, as its China opening was a disastrous $3.7M, giving it a $12.3M weekend and $63.6M total to add to its $2.5M/$25.8M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  SUFFRAGETTE (Focus/Universal) had a mild $19K per-theatre average at 4 NY/LA houses.  ROOM (A24) expanded to 23 with a fair $11K average, while TRUTH (Sony Classics) widened to 18 and averaged a subpar $6500.  LABYRINTH OF LIES (Sony Classics), now at 65, had a $1400 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  With young audiences largely MIA due to Halloween festivities, the studios will mostly cater to the older crowd with star vehicles:  Sandra Bullock’s OUR BRAND IS CRISIS (Warners) and Bradley Cooper’s BURNT (Weinstein).  Neither is preceded with much in the way of good buzz.  Meanwhile, THE SCOUT’S GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (Paramount) will continue the studio’s experiment with low-priced product that moves swiftly to VOD.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."