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Box office hits and misses: New movies flop while The Martian stays strong

weekend box office results the martian movie 0021
20th Century Fox
October is typically a slow month for movies, but this weekend managed to be one of the slowest of the year with only one major new release breaking the $5 million mark and four returning films remaining at the top of the box-office rankings.

Ridley Scott’s The Martian remained the most popular movie in theaters right now with a weekend tally of $11.4 million, putting it in the top spot for a fourth weekend. The celebrated adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars has now been the top movie for four out of the last five weeks, and doesn’t appear to losing much momentum at all — although its box-office dominance could have as much to do with the competition as it does with quality of the film itself.

Still, The Martian is doing remarkably well so far, and currently ranks as the ninth highest-grossing film of the year in U.S. theaters and the 12th highest-grossing film of the year worldwide. This weekend, the film was followed in the box-office rankings by family-friendly scary movie Goosebumps ($10.2 million), Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies ($8 million), and another family-friendly feature, the animated sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 ($5.8 million).

The only new movie to squeak into the top five films of the weekend was Bradley Cooper’s cooking comedy Burnt, which earned a meager $5 million for its opening weekend. The film’s premiere is one of the worst for Cooper, who had another flop earlier this year with the drama Aloha.

In sixth place, Vin Diesel’s supernatural fantasy The Last Witch Hunter added another $4.7 million to its box-office gross over the weekend, bringing its total in U.S. theaters to $18.6 million and its international gross to $38.4 million. Diesel’s films tend to do well overseas, so even though the numbers are pretty underwhelming so far, there’s still a decent chance that it could cover its production costs or possibly even turn a small profit.

In a somewhat similar situation is the franchise-ending Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which ended up in seventh place for the weekend with $3.45 million. Extremely low production costs have been a hallmark of the Paranormal Activity movies, and so the $13.5 million the film has earned in the U.S. and the $37.8 million it’s earned internationally aren’t as disappointing as they would be for most major releases. The film will almost certainly cover its costs and very likely make a profit, but the returns certainly aren’t going to be as huge as they were for the first few films in the found-footage series.

Sliding into eighth place for the weekend is Sandra Bullock’s new film, Our Brand Is Crisis, about an American political consultant (Bullock) who’s tasked with helping a Bolivian politician win the 2002 presidential election. The film earned just $3.43 million in its first weekend in theaters — which not only gives it the worst opening of any film starring Bullock, but also gives its one of the worst opening weekends of all time for a film in wide release. Ouch.

The rest of the weekend’s ten highest-grossing films included Guillermo del Toro’s gothic haunted-house movie Crimson Peak ($3.1 million) and the poor-performing biopic Steve Jobs ($2.58 million), which is on pace to earn only slightly more than the much-maligned 2013 film that cast Ashton Kutcher as the Apple co-founder, Jobs. Although the film seemed to have all kinds of Oscar buzz a few months ago, much of that hype has died down to the point of non-existence  at this point. As of this weekend, Steve Jobs has earned just $14.5 million overall.

The only other wide release that premiered over the weekend was the raunchy horror comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, and the film performed as poorly as many pundits predicted, earning just $1.7 million for its opening weekend.

Next week’s biggest release will almost certainly be Spectre, the new James Bond movie that opened overseas over the weekend and is already a bona fide blockbuster outside the U.S. Daniel Craig’s return as Agent 007 managed to break the records set by the previous installment of the franchise, Skyfall, in most of the countries where it premiered over the weekend and it’s expected to do the same when it arrives in U.S. theaters November 6.

Also debuting in theaters this upcoming weekend is The Peanuts Movie, a new, animated feature based on Charles M. Schulz’s beloved comic strip.

Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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