‘The Martian’ Claims Fourth Box Office Win on Worst Weekend of 2015

     November 1, 2015


For the second week in a row, the box office rejected new releases in favor of The Martian and its fellow holdovers Goosebumps and Bridge of Spies. In fact, the top three films have remained the same for three weekends in row, if reordered slightly during Goosebumps’ debut frame. And if last week’s four new films looked weak against those more seasoned titles, how to describe this weekend’s offerings Burnt, Our Brand is Crisis, and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse? In what turned out to be the lowest-grossing weekend of 2015, all three were enormous disappointments.

But before we get to the bad news let’s give the winner its due. As expected, The Martian remained the number one draw this weekend, down just 27.5% with an estimated $11.4 million. The Fox release has held the top spot for four of the last five weekends and is on track to become the highest-grossing feature of Ridley Scott’s career. The director’s current high is $187.7 million for 2000’s Gladiator. With $182.8 as of Sunday, The Martian should surpass Gladiator next weekend, without adjusting for inflation.


Image via The Weinstein Company

The Last Witch Hunter was the only new release to make it into the top five last weekend. Today that ‘honor’ falls to Burnt, the culinary drama starring Bradley Cooper. Last summer’s disastrous Aloha notwithstanding, Cooper has been a solid box office draw in recent years. Along with his work in last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, he headlined American Sniper – one of the most successful R-rated releases of all time. Viewed through that lens, Burnt is a bit of a tragedy.

From 3,003 locations, Burnt earned an estimated $5 million this weekend – about half what Aloha earned back in May. Burnt also claimed a lower per-screen average ($1,678) than Hotel Transylvania 2 this weekend – its sixth in theatres. In fact, the only thing recommending this Weinstein Co. release is its budget: a reported $20 million before marketing. With discouraging reviews (29% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a B- CinemaScore, it’s unlikely that Burnt will pass $20 million by the end of its run, but at least its budget wasn’t higher.

our-brand-is-crisis-posterOur Brand is Crisis did have a bigger budget… and came in lower than Burnt. The political drama starring Sandra Bullock cost almost $30 million and earned just $3.4 million in its debut – about one-third of its original projection. The Halloween box office tends to favor adult-skewing fare, but Our Brand is Crisis appears to be an exception. The film received a C+ from CinemaScore audiences, which indicates it won’t stick around long enough to boost its grosses. As we told you yesterday, Crisis is now the lowest wide opening of Bullock’s career: lower than the romantic comedies All About Steve (co-starring Bradley Cooper) and Two if By Sea.

If Burnt and Crisis were disappointments, at least they made it into this weekend’s top ten. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse was not so lucky. The horror comedy earned an estimated $1.77 million from 1,560 locations, putting it in twelfth-place. Unlike Burnt and Crisis, however, Scouts Guide was not expected to set the box office on fire. Like Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension last weekend, Paramount decided to open the film in fewer theatres and hasten its availability on VOD. It’s an approach that has antagonized theatre chains, but it could still work in favor of a smaller film like Scouts.

Overall, the domestic box office brought in just under $71 million this weekend. That’s down 25% from last Halloween weekend and is also the lowest frame of 2015 by a wide margin. The good news is that the box office slump is almost over. Spectre, the 24th feature in the James Bond franchise, opens next weekend. Skyfall set a Bond record in 2012 with its $88.3 million launch. Spectre should come close to that figure, with current projections falling between $85 and $90 million. The Peanuts Movie will counter-program Spectre next Friday, with expectations in the $45 million range.

Here’s this weekend’s top ten, based on studio estimates:

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Martian $11,400,000 $182.8
2.  Goosebumps $10,210,000 $57.1
3.  Bridge of Spies $8,060,000 $45.2
4.  Hotel Transylvania 2 $5,830,000 $156
5.  Burnt $5,038,000 $5
6.  The Last Witch Hunter $4,750,000 $18.6
7.  Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension $3,450,000 $13.5
8.  Our Brand is Crisis $3,430,000 $3.43
9.  Crimson Peak $3,110,000 $27.7
10.  Steve Jobs $2,580,000 $14.5


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