Box office hits and misses: Goosebumps sinks The Martian with big debut

Ridley Scott’s The Martian finally came back down to Earth this weekend, but the celebrated sci-fi film continued to be one of the year’s biggest hits at the box office even with a second-place finish.

Just in time for Halloween, the big-screen adaptation of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps won the weekend — and knocked The Martian out of the top spot — with an estimated $23.5 million opening. The film, which casts Jack Black as a fictional version of Stine whose long-running series of scary stories are more than they appear, benefitted from the combination of its pre-Halloween release and positive reviews for the family-friendly horror movie.

Falling out of the top spot after two dominant weeks, The Martian still managed to bring in $21.5 million over the weekend, raising its total gross so far to an impressive $143 million domestically and $319 million worldwide. The adaptation of Andy Weir’s 2011 novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either, with Academy Award buzz for the movie and star Matt Damon only continuing to grow as time goes on.

Bridge of Spies, the latest installment of Steven Spielberg’s always Oscar-friendly collaborations with Tom Hanks, managed a third-place finish for the weekend with $15.4 million premiere. The thriller is based on the fascinating true story of a U.S. attorney tasked with negotiating the release of a spy-plane pilot captured in the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, but its opening weekend gives it the worst debut so far for any film that paired Spielberg and Hanks (just after 2004’s The Terminal).

The other new release to earn a place in the weekend’s top five films was Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror Crimson Peak, which raked in a blood-soaked $12.8 million just a few weeks before Halloween. As is the case for many of Del Toro’s films in recent years, Crimson Peak fared better internationally than in U.S. theaters, and grossed an estimated $13.4 million overseas for a grand total of $26.2 million worldwide. Despite the low box-office numbers, the film has earned generally positive reviews from critics and audiences thus far, so there’s hope that word of mouth — and the impending holiday — could give it a delayed boost.

Closing out the top five films for the weekend was Hotel Transylvania 2, the animated sequel that has already surpassed nearly every early prediction regarding its box-office performance. Co-written by Adam Sandler and featuring an all-star cast of voice actors led by Sandler, Hotel Transylvania 2 added another $12.3 million to its domestic gross over the weekend, bring its worldwide total to $267.5 million in ticket sales so far.

Among the rest of the weekend’s 10 highest-grossing films, there was only one film making its debut.

Hotel Transylvania 2 was followed by the disappointing Pan ($5.8 million), then the comedy The Intern ($5.4 million), and the drug-war thriller Sicario ($4.5 million), which was closely followed by Woodlawn, a faith-based football movie that earned $4.1 million in its opening weekend. The film features Sean Astin and Jon Voight in supporting roles, and debuted in over 1,500 theaters.

In 10th place for the weekend was Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which added another $2.75 million to its domestic gross so far.

As for some of the other notable premieres over the weekend, True Detective director Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation earned $50,699 from screenings in 31 theaters — a number that’s notable due to the film premiering simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix. With all of the major theater chains boycotting the film due its premiere on the streaming service, Beasts of No Nation has become a closely watched experiment in movie distribution.

The biopic Steve Jobs also expanded into 60 theaters over the weekend and earned another $1.6 million ahead of its nationwide release on Oct. 23.

Next weekend features the release of several Halloween-themed projects, including the franchise-ending horror sequel Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Vin Diesel’s supernatural fantasy film The Last Witch Hunter. The live-action, big-screen adaptation of the Jem and the Holograms animated series also arrives in theaters, as well as the Bill Murray comedy Rock the Kasbah.


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