October 3, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “The Martian” In Orbit, “Sicario” Solid, “The Walk” Stumbles


Just a week after a new September mark was set, Ridley Scott’s THE MARTIAN (20th) is going to compete for the highest-ever October opening.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, Martian had an opening day that matched or even slightly topped the $17.5M for Gravity, which set the current October record at $55.8M.  ($2.5M of Martian‘s “Friday” came from Thursday night screenings, compared to $1.4M for Gravity.)  Gravity had a tremendous 31% Friday-to-Saturday bump, and Martian‘s ability to hit that mark will determine whether the record is in its grasp.  Word of mouth should be sky-high, though, so it’s definitely a possibility.  However, Gravity was helped by a brisk 91-minute running time, almost an hour shorter than The Martian and allowing for more shows per day.   In any case, The Martian should run strongly through the fall, and even with a production/worldwide marketing budget around $250M, it’s on the way to a handsome profit.

After two weekends in limited release, SICARIO (Lionsgate) expanded to 2620 theatres with a solid $3.9M on Friday, putting it on track for a $12M weekend.  That’s dwarfed by The Martian, but Sicario will hope for a lengthy run through awards season, where it will likely be Lionsgate’s major candidate for nominations.

THE WALK (TriStar/Sony) is all but done after a disastrous (virtually) all-IMAX opening that gave it under $400K at 448 theatres on Friday (this was after $400K combined on Wed-Thurs).  It’s headed for a nearly invisible $1.2M weekend (compared to the $7.2M for the similar launch of Everest 2 weeks ago), and since the whole thrust of its release was how crucial it was to see its last half-hour of visual spectacle in IMAX 3D, there’s no reason to think it will do any business when it goes wider next week.  The only saving grace for the studio is that The Walk had a reportedly modest $31M production budget, although of course that number will swell when worldwide marketing is added.

In better news for its studio, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 (Columbia/Sony) held nicely in its 2d weekend, down 43% from last Friday to $7.6M (the original Hotel declined 41% on its 2d Friday) and headed for a $30-32M weekend, still running ahead of the first Hotel.  It should total $150M or so in the US, with plenty of international firepower.

THE INTERN (RatPac-Dune/Warners) held even better, down 41% from last Friday to $3.7M, on its way to a likely $12-13M weekend.  It should end up at a moderately successful $65M in the US.

Among the longer running titles, THE MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS (20th) fell 49% from last Friday to $2.1M, on track for a $7M weekend and a US total around $80M, 20% below the first Maze Runner despite a significantly higher cost.  BLACK MASS (RatPac-Dune/Warners) is showing little staying power within its adult crime genre, down 49% Friday-to-Friday to $1.8M, with a $6M weekend and $65M US total ahead.  (By comparison, The Town dropped 37% on its 3rd Friday.)  EVEREST (Walden/Universal) continued its swift collapse with a Friday-to-Friday plunge of 57% to $1.7M.  It may not get past $45M in the US, and while international may pull it into modest profit (it has $74.1M so far), it’s not going to be a serious awards player.

HE NAMED ME MALALA (Fox Searchlight) should have a fair $20K per-theatre weekend average at 4 NY/LA arthouses, boosted in part by in-theatre Q&A sessions.  FREEHELD (Lionsgate) is headed for a less impressive $10K weekend average at 5 theatres.

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."