Hey, James Bond! Are you out there, Katniss Everdeen? How about the “Star Wars” gang? The box office could use your help right now.
With Sandra Bullock‘s “Our Brand Is Crisis” and Bradley Cooper‘s “Burnt” giving the two stars their worst wide openings ever, Matt Damon and “The Martian” claimed their fourth No. 1 finish at the weekend box office with $11.4 million for Fox. Director Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi saga is up to $183 million domestically and topped $400 million globally this weekend.
The overall box office sputtered for the second week in a row as Halloween partying cut deeply into business and resulted in the lowest grossing weekend of the year at $73 million. It was down 31 percent from last week and 23 percent from a year ago, according to Rentrak.
“Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” tanked in its debut, too, while Vin Diesel‘s “The Last Witch Hunter” and the highly regarded Oscar hopeful “Steve Jobs” continued to misfire after disappointing wide openings last weekend.
Moviegoers were likely taking a deep breath ahead of a run of blockbusters that begins with the opening of the 24th James Bond movie “Spectre” on Friday. After that, Jennifer Lawrence arrives in “The Hunger Games” finale (Nov. 20), ahead of Pixar’s animated “The Good Dinosaur” on Nov. 25 and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Dec. 18. Those four blockbusters-to-be head a 2015 holiday lineup that is expected to rewrite the record books and push the year to an all-time high in domestic grosses.
But this weekend will be a forgettable footnote.
The holdovers — Jack Black family comedy “Goosebumps” ($10.2 million), Tom Hanks thriller “Bridge of Spies” ($8.5 million) and the animated “Hotel Transylvania” ($5.6 million) — continued to show staying power and took the second, third and fourth spots.
But there were low expectations for the trio of R-rated openers, all comedies of one sort or another, and all three failed to meet them.
Bullock is coming off hits “Gravity” and “The Heat,” but the $3.5 million debut of her Warner Bros. political satire “Our Brand Is Crisis” is even worse than that of her “Two If By Sea” opening in 1996. For co-star Billy Bob Thornton, it’s the weakest opening since the 1997 thriller “U Turn.”
For “American Sniper” star Cooper, “Burnt” is the third misfire in a row following “Serena” and “Aloha,” and its $5 million debut is worse even than his supporting turn in the 2008 Rainn Wilson bomb “Rocker.” John Wells directed the Weinstein Company’s tale of a chef who has lost his creative way, which reunited Cooper with his “Sniper” co-star Sienna Miller.
The teen horror comedy “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” was the second film in Paramount’s early video-on-demand experiment that began last week with “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.” Several major theater chains skipped booking the film in protest and “Scouts Guirde” was in only 1,509 movie houses and managed just $1.7 million, missing the top ten. Its R rating didn’t help, since it restricted access for its target teen audience.
“Burnt” and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” both received weak “B-” CinemaScores from audiences. “Our Brand is Crisis,” the highest of the three on Rotten Tomatoes at 33 percent positive, drew a crummy “C+” grade.
While disappointing, no one should go broke. “Our Brand Is Crisis,” from George Clooney and Grant Heslov‘s Smokehouse Pictures, had a $28 million production budget, 3 Arts Entertainment’s “Burnt” cost $20 million and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” cost Broken Road Productions around $15 million.
Things didn’t get much better for two movies that had tough outings in their wide openings last weekend. “The Last Witch Hunter” managed just $5 million this weekend for Lionsgate and Universal’s critical favorite “Steve Jobs” took in just $2.5 million and finished tenth.