Mars epic soars to $37 million, and “Steve Jobs” starts fast in limited debut
Director Ridley Scott‘s “The Martian” continued its stellar orbit with a $37 million repeat triumph at movie multiplexes this weekend. But the big-budget “Pan” and Oscar hopeful “The Walk” made the biggest splash with box-office belly flops.
The space epic starring Matt Damon remained No. 1 for Fox and has now taken in $117 million in two weeks domestically. After earning $58 million overseas this weekend, the film is now approaching $200 million globally for Fox.
Sony Animation’s “Hotel Transylvania 2” was second with $20 million, and that topped the $15.3 million for director Joe Wright‘s pricey prequel to J.M. Barrie’s 1904 classic “Peter Pan,” which took third place. The film starring Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund and Amanda Seyfried will be an expensive miss for Warner Bros. after bringing in just one-tenth of its $150 million production budget in its domestic debut.
Sony’s Robert Zemeckis-directed tightrope tale “The Walk” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt looked wobbly in its wide debut, finishing behind holdovers “The Intern,” “Sicario” and “The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.” The thriller starring Levitt as aerialist Philippe Petit took in $3.6 million in its first weekend of wide release.
Sony executives may regret their rollout strategy for “The Walk,” which eschewed a platform release, designed to build buzz in limited engagements on the coasts, for an exclusive run on IMAX and Premium Large Format screens.
Another film with awards ambitions, “Steve Jobs” made an impressive limited debut for Universal. The biopic on the iconic Apple Inc. founder brought in $521,000 from four theaters. That’s a $130,236 per-screen average, making it the highest-grossing limited release of 2015 and the biggest since “American Sniper.”
The “Pan” audiences were 55 percent female and 52 percent over the age of 25, and the latter number suggests a disconnect with the young audiences it targeted.
The fact that “Pan” had a rough road with a release date change (it was to open in July), tough reviews and serious PG-rated competition from the Halloween-friendly “Hotel Transylvania 2” all hurt, according to Rentrak’s senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
“On top of that, the origin story concept of the film may have been lost on the average moviegoer and despite Hugh Jackman‘s presence in the film, this was not enough for it to rise above and offset its budget,” he said.
“Pan” received a “B+” CinemaScore, which is better than what most critics gave the film. It’s at a dismal 21 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, well below that of other new releases “The Walk” (86 percent) and “Steve Jobs” (89 percent).
“Pan” opened at No. 1 in Mexico this weekend, and was near the top in Germany, Russia and several Asian nations, but the soft domestic debut isn’t going to help the overseas run.
“The Intern” was fourth with $8.6 million in its third weekend for Warner Bros. and its domestic total is $50 million. Lionsgate’s drug war thriller “Sicario” was next with a $7.3 million fourth weekend that brought its total to $27 million, and Fox’s teen sci-fi saga “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” was sixth with $5.2 million and has taken in $70 million in four weeks.
“Ladrones,” a sequel to “Ladrón que roba a ladrón,” featuring Latin stars Fernando Colunga and Eduardo Yáñez, grossed $1.3 million from 375 locations for Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films, a joint venture with Televisa. That’s a solid $3,560 per-screen average and the “A” CinemaScore from audiences should help in coming weeks.
Broad Green expanded “99 Homes,” the R-rated thriller starring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern, from 19 theaters to 679, and it took in $647,825. That’s a soft $938 per-screen average.