Sunday, October 4, 2015

'The Martian' explodes with $55 million for second biggest October opening; 'Sicario' soars, 'The Walk' uneasy at weekend box office

As soon as the first reviews hit for The Martian at the Toronto International Film Festival, I knew for certain that this film would be a very big hit. The trailers were good, it was deemed to be a terrific crowd-pleaser (which it is), and the critics were on its side. It was only a question of "how big" for Ridley Scott and Matt Damon's new sci-fi epic. We got the answer to that question this weekend, and the answer was a massive $55 million showing, enough to score the second biggest October opening ever, only behind Gravity's $55.7 million. Made on a budget of $108 million, The Martian opened in 3.851 theaters and continued the trend of fall space adventures hitting it big at the box office. The aforementioned Gravity was a huge success back in 2013 with $723.1 million worldwide and Interstellar also did extraordinarily well last year with $675 million in worldwide grosses. The Martian has only made $45.2 million in international markets so far, but that will most certainly change. It's a film that plays well to both cinephiles and audience members (shown by its "A" Cinemascore) and it will be in the Oscar conversation for the foreseeable future. All in all, a huge win for Fox, for Matt Damon, and most importantly, for iconic director Ridley Scott.


Continuing its spectacular run in second place was Sony's Hotel Transylvania 2, a desperately needed hit for the studio. After a record-breaking $48.4 million opening weekend, the animated comedy dropped a light 32% and snagged another $33 million this weekend, enough to raise its total to $90.5 million. Everybody involved with this project really needed it to be a hit, so in that regard, I guess I'm happy. Adam Sandler might just have to stick to animated comedies about Dracula in the future, instead of dressing up in drag as his own twin.

After a strong couple of weeks in limited release, Lionsgate's Sicario broke out in 2,620 theaters and finished in third place. The drug cartel drama grossed $12 million, which is very impressive for a more art house-y action flick. Sicario also received an "A-" Cinemascore, which means that audiences were down with what director Denis Villeneuve and company had to offer. I have to admit that I am slightly surprised by the CinemaScore for this one. Not to say that Sicario is a bad movie- far from it, it's a terrific little piece of cinema. But it's not necessarily an audience-friendly film. It's bleak, brutally violent and grim. And it can be kinda vague and slow paced as well, not something that general audiences usually dig. It's a simple testament to the completely random and unpredictable nature of CinemaScore.

The Intern finished in fourth place with $11.6 million, a solid hold from its $17.7 million opening. The adult-skewing dramedy has grossed $36.5 million and with very little competition in that aspect, I expect The Intern to finish with around $60 million. In fifth place was Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which took another sharp tumble and only pulled in $7.6 million. The sequel to last year's surprise hit has grossed $63.2 million so far, a noticeably lower amount than the original. But thanks to overseas box office, there's no doubt in my mind that we'll be seeing The Death Cure in the near future.

Black Mass also continued its downward spiral this weekend, falling to sixth place and taking in only $5.9 million. Johnny Depp's Oscar bait-y crime drama has made $52.2 million, basically hinting to the fact that the pic was incredibly front-loaded. No matter- this is a good critical success for Depp and something that he really needed after his slip into caricature in recent years. Right behind Black Mass was Everest, which also took a steep 58.4% fall down to seventh place, snagging $5.5 million. The IMAX climber drama has made $33.1 million, a somewhat disappointing but unsurprising total for the $55 million movie. It didn't gain nearly enough festival traction and in my view, isn't a very good movie at all.

M. Night Shyamalan's surprise hit The Visit fell to eighth place and grabbed another $3.9 million, enough to raise its total to $56.9 million. A much-needed success for Shyamalan, The Visit will hopefully bring him back to his horror roots in a big way. Christian breakout hit War Room was farther behind in ninth place, with $2.8 million, enough to reach $60.5 million. And finally, Sony's The Perfect Guy rounded out the top ten with $2.4 million. It has now made $52.6 million.

The odd man out this weekend was TriStar's The Walk, which opened in 448 IMAX theaters this weekend, a similar rollout to Everest. Unfortunately, Robert Zemeckis' tight-rope drama was not nearly as successful, grossing a meager $1.5 million over the weekend and $1.9 million for the 5-day frame. The film expands next week and its grosses did increase over the weekend, making this Oscar contender seem like a possible word of mouth hit, but only time will tell. 

Next weekend sees the wide release of Pan, the expansion of 99 Homes and The Walk and the limited premiere of Steve Jobs. Here are my predictions:

1. The Martian- $34.5 million
2. Pan- $23.1 million
3. Hotel Transylvania 2- $20.3 million
4. The Walk- $11 million
5. Sicario- $7.6 million
6. The Intern- $6.5 million
7. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials- $4.9 million
8. Black Mass- $3.5 million
9. Everest- $3.4 million
10. The Visit- $2.6 million


Image Credits: Screen Rant, Hey U Guys, YouTube, Joblo

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