Will ‘The Martian’ or ‘Goosebumps’ Haunt Halloween Box Office?

Three comedy openers — Bradley Cooper’s “Burnt,” Sandra Bullock’s “Our Brand Is Crisis” and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” — look like also-rans

Last Updated: October 28, 2015 @ 6:58 AM

Friday night Halloween parties and the looming “Spectre” will haunt the box office this weekend, which could look a lot like the last three weekends, with “The Martian” and “Goosebumps” battling for the top spot.

There are three comedies opening wide on Friday — “Burnt” with Bradley Cooper as an overdone chef, Sandra Bullock‘s “Our Brand Is Crisis” and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” — but none are expected to top $10 million over the three days.

That leaves Fox’s sci-fi saga with Matt Damon and Sony’s R.L. Stine adaptation starring Jack Black to fight it out for No. 1, with “Hotel Transylvania 2” and Tom Hanks‘ “Bridge of Spies” just behind the leaders.

“Maybe ‘Goosebumps’ gets an edge because its Halloween, but it’ll be close again,” said Exhibitor Relations senior analyst Jeff Bock, “and they may not hit $15 million.” A special IMAX run in select theaters will give “The Martian” a boost.

The holiday falling on a Friday doesn’t help since many moviegoers will head to parties instead of theaters. In addition, many may bide their time waiting for “Spectre,” the James Bond film that opens a week from Friday.

John Wells’ R-rated “Burnt,” featuring Cooper as chef who’s lost his creative drive, opens in 2,400 theaters and is expected to cook up about $8 million.

The film, Wells’ third feature for the Weinstein Company, has a mediocre 40 percent positive ranking on Rotten Tomatoes and is behind Cooper’s flop “Aloha” on social media.

You wouldn’t think a comedy about American political consultants butting heads in a Bolivian presidential election would be a mainstream hit, and “Our Brand Is Crisis” probably won’t be.

Billy Bob Thornton and Anthony Mackie co-star in the film directed by David Gordon Green, known for the pot comedies “Pineapple Express” and “Your Highness.” The film, based on a true story and drawn from a 2005 documentary film of same name by Rachel Boynton, is at 43 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes.

Warner Bros. is hoping the R-rated and mature-skewing “Our Brand Is Crisis” from George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Productions can gain traction and play steadily as the real-life elections play out. Look for a debut in the $6 million range for the film, which will be in roughly 2,200 theaters.

Paramount’s R-rated “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” stars relative newcomers Tye Sheridan and Logan Miller as members of a scout troop whose camp-out is crashed by the undead.

“Scouts Guide,”” directed by Christopher Landon, will open in roughly 1,500 theaters and is projecting a three-day total of around $3 million. The last two numbers might have been higher, but several several major theaters chains won’t book it to protest of what they see as an attack on their traditional exclusive runs with a controversial early VOD-release experiment.

Many major theater chains also bypassed the studio’s “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” last weekend for the same reason, and the series finale was the lowest-grossing of the six-film horror series.