October 10, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Pan” & “The Walk” Fall Out of the Sky, “The Martian” & “Steve Jobs” Soar


The  preliminary numbers at Deadline confirm the expected:  PAN (RatPac-Dune/Warners) is a box office catastrophe in the making.  Its $5.2M opening day (which includes $650K from Thursday night) is less than half the first day of Fantastic Four ($11.3M), and although as a family-oriented movie it may bounce back a bit on Saturday (and should benefit from Columbus Day on Monday, a school holiday in part of the country), it’s likely to end the weekend under $20M.  (The disastrous Fantastic Four managed $25.7M–at a lower production budget.)  Even if it overperforms internationally–the studio’s only hope at this point–it has little chance of earning back its $300M+ production and worldwide marketing costs.  For Warners, 2015 can’t end too soon.

THE WALK (TriStar/Sony) is also faring as badly as expected after last weekend’s dim start at IMAX and 3D theatres.  Expanding to wide release, it managed $1.5M on Friday and perhaps a $6M weekend.  Although The Walk cost far less to produce than Pan (around $30M compared to $150M), it still carries an expensive marketing budget, and its US total won’t even begin to chip away at that.

The failure of Pan and The Walk was great news for THE MARTIAN (20th), which essentially faced no new competition and rode its excellent word of mouth to around $11M on Friday and a likely $36M weekend, down only about one-third from its opening and on the road to a possible $200M US total.  Next week’s big openings, Crimson Peak, Bridge of Spies and Goosebumps, are aimed at older and younger audiences, which should allow The Martian to continue holding strong.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 (Columbia/Sony) was barely touched by the arrival of Pan, declining just over 30% from last Friday to a $5.2M Friday and a probable $20M weekend, on its way to $150M+ in the US.  THE INTERN (Warners) is also holding very well, down less than 30% on Friday to $2.5M, with a $8.5M weekend and tidy $70M US total ahead.

SICARIO (Lionsgate) had an OK hold, down 48% from last Friday to $2.2M for a probable $7M weekend.  A $40-50M US total wouldn’t be bad for a serious, moderately-priced thriller that lacks big stars, but it might not be enough to propel the film into awards consideration.

THE MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS (20th), BLACK MASS (RatPac-Dune/Warners) and EVEREST (Walden/Universal) are at the tail end of their runs.  Maze should earn $5M for the weekend toward a $80M US total, while Mass and Everest are headed for $3M weekends that will move them closer to respective $65M and $45M US totals.  All are at the lower end of their expectations.

There was never much doubt that STEVE JOBS (Legendary/Universal) would find an enthusiastic audience for its exclusive NY/LA openings, and at just 4 theatres (although, as is often the case with these limited openings, that’s a bit misleading–in the prime Friday hours, it was showing on about half a dozen screens at ArcLight Hollywood alone), it had a huge $185K on Friday, and should get above $500K for the weekend, which could get it as high as a $140K per-theatre average.  It will easily have the highest average of any opening this year, and should be in the top 5 live action launch averages ever.  It always bears repeating, however, as excitement crests over these huge averages, that The Master averaged $147K in its 5-theatre opening, and only then managed to gross $16.4M in its entire US run.  (On the other hand, American Sniper started with a $158K average and ended with an amazing $350.1M.)

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."