October 4, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10/4/15


OPENINGS:  THE MARTIAN (20th) barely missed setting a new October opening record at $55M, just $800K behind Gravity (which had a much shorter running time and the advantage of IMAX ticket prices).  Gravity made it all the way to $274.1M in the US, and although Martian may have a tough time getting near that number, it should easily reach $150M+ and a handsome profit.  Overseas, The Martian is in an estimated 40% of the world and had a $45M start in 49 territories, a solid but not remarkable launch.  Ridley Scott’s adventure should get big word of mouth worldwide, and the interesting question is whether it has the gas to be a dark horse during awards season, as Gravity turned out to be.

THE WALK (TriStar/Sony) is apparently playing as a family movie thanks to its PG rating, and it had a comparatively big Saturday, up 80% from Friday.  Unfortunately, as with TV networks that boast about their Live + 3 ratings increases, a big percentage boost on a tiny number only results in a slightly less tiny number.  The Walk remains a disaster with $1.6M for the weekend (just under $2M since Wednesday) at 448 mostly IMAX 3D theatres, and has virtually no hope of doing viable business once it goes wide next weekend.  Also, although the production cost was a modest $30M, the strategy of releasing in two national waves (large format and then general) requires extremely high marketing costs, because it’s essentially two openings.  The Walk is almost certainly out of the awards picture, and will have to hope for help overseas to get out of red ink–as of Sunday afternoon, Sony had yet to report any international numbers.

HOLDOVERS:  SICARIO (Lionsgate) expanded to wide release at 2620 theatres and was solid at $12.1M ($15.1M including 2 weeks of limited release).  Sicario is a long-term play that will hope to garner good word of mouth and stay in theatres for the next several weeks, since Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro aren’t names that in and of themselves sell a lot of tickets.  Internationally, the film earned $3.3M in 38 territories, putting it at $10M with much of the world still to open.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 (Columbia/Sony) had the benefit of being the only true family movie in wide release, and it nosed down just 32% from opening weekend to $33M, putting it at $90.3M so far.  That’s actually better than the 36% Weekend 2 drop for the first Transylvania, and the sequel is running almost 20% ahead of its predecessor, an impressive result.  Overseas, Hotel 2 earned $20M in 50 markets for a $59.8M total and plenty of major territories still to open.  The movie faces new family competition next weekend–but since it’s Pan, maybe not.

THE INTERN (RatPac-Dune/Warners) is also the only movie of its type in the market, and it held beautifully with a 35% drop to $11.6M and a $36.5M US total.  It should hit $60M+ in the US, and the fact that it cost a relatively thrifty $40M to produce should allow it to reach profit.  Overseas, it’s finding less traction (as US comedies often do), with a $15.7M weekend in 57 markets and a $35.6M total.  (Remember that most films now make 2/3 or more of their total box office outside the US.)

THE MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS (20th) and BLACK MASS (RatPac-Dune/Warners) had comparable weekends, Maze down 46% to $7.7M (a $63.2M total) and Mass down 47% to $5.9M ($52.5M total).  Maze Runner cost more to produce, so both are going to have to push to a profitable finish line.  Maze also took in $13.7M in 58 overseas markets, giving it a $147.8M total outside the US, while Black Mass has yet to begin its international run.

EVEREST (Walden/Universal) was decimated by the twin arrivals of The Martian and The Walk (the latter took nearly all of its IMAX screens), with a $33.2M total after the weekend’s 58% plunge to $5.5M that will put it out of the picture in another week.  The much better news is overseas, where the grim epic earned $16.4M in 65 markets for a $103.3M total.  That international appeal should get the movie above red ink, but Everest is unlikely to be remembered for awards season.

THE VISIT (Blumhouse/Universal), WAR ROOM (Affirm/TriStar/Sony) and THE PERFECT GUY (Screen Gems/Sony) are still doing business, respectively down 41% to $4M ($56.9M total), down 34% to $2.8M ($60.5M total), and down 50% to $2.4M ($52.6M total).  War Room, the cheapest to produce and market, will end up the most financially helpful, but all will support their studios’ bottom line.

LIMITED RELEASE:  A slow weekend couldn’t do better than a $14K per-theatre average for the documentary HE NAMED ME MALAWA (Fox Searchlight) at 4 NY/LA theatres.  FREEHELD (Lionsgate) found even less support, averaging $8K at 5.  The post-Holocaust film LABYRINTH OF LIES (Sony Classics) averaged $7K at 3.  SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE (IFC) expanded horribly to 392 theatres, with an average that barely topped $500 for the weekend.  99 HOMES (Broad Green) widened to 19 with an OK $5500 average.  COMING HOME (Sony Classics) found a $1100 average at 55.

NEXT WEEKEND:  PAN (Warners) is arriving trailed by the most noxious clouds of buzz since Fantastic Four.  In addition, the hobbled The Walk will go wide.  The most interesting opening will be STEVE JOBS (Universal), beginning in NY/LA before widening over the following 2 weeks, and aiming for one of the biggest per-theatre grosses of the year as it starts its journey through awards season.


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."