Box Office: Burnt Gets Burned By Critics, Audiences, As The Martian Passes $425 Million Worldwide

When looking at how poorly theater attendance has been to start the fall, it seems justified to skip box office reporting entirely (or at least a week here and there). Even with addition of a new Bradley Cooper movie the top three performers remained unchanged. Ridley Scott’s The Martian continues to attract viewers five weeks in and Sony Pictures had the one-two punch of Goosebumps and Hotel Transylvania 2 (the latter of which finished in fourth place up one spot) providing spooktacular entertainment for kids the weekend of Halloween. In between those two comedies was Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, a period drama that is a solid treat for the older crowd.

Not quite the treat was The Weinstein Company’s Burnt. Opening on 3,003 screens, the Bradley Cooper release raked in $5 million. Without the lift of critical praise, don’t look for Harvey Weinstein to mount much of an Oscar campaign for Cooper, instead hoping to fill up voter boxes with Southpaw screeners for star Jake Gyllenhaal to get a Best Actor nod.

Dropping from fourth to sixth we have Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter. While this fantasy from Lionsgate does feature a slick ride for Diesel’s witch hunter character, he doesn’t go nearly as fast or furious as one would think. In ten days it has made approximately $18.6 million, which is about the figure I thought it could make in its first weekend. There were talks of a potential sequel, but here again is another example of Diesel failing to be a draw as a lead. He’s much better in an ensemble (as is the case with the lucrative F&F series) or not seen at all (see The Iron Giant or Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy).

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the last installment of Jason Blum’s found horror franchise, shows its age as the audience was cut by 57% this Halloween with $3.45 million in earnings. Paramount’s decision to have a VOD option for this movie (as well as new release Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, which finished 12th) caused a dustup that saw theater chains like AMC refuse to show the film. Thus, the screen count was cut to approx. 1,600 opening day and resulted in a sixth-place debut. This week it dropped a spot as horror seems to have hit a rough patch in theaters outside a few monetary success stories this year (M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, It Follows). Most of the good stuff in horror has been moved to the small screen with hit series like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Bates Motel and Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Other notes on the top 10: Warner Bros.’ debut of Our Brand Is Crisis got mixed signals despite the presence of Sandra Bullock. It finished with $3.43 million. When actuals are released its performance may have it better than The Ghost Dimension. Audiences have been indifferent to Guillermo Del Toro’s Gothic romance Crimson Peak, which is a shame as Jessica Chastain delivers a devilish good performance along with Tom Hiddleston. But the real stars are the set builders and costume makers. Rounding out the list is Universal’s Steve Jobs which took a plunge in week four of its platform release strategy. It seems that the studio was too fast to pull the trigger after netting the best per-screen average for a new film in limited release of 2015.

Outside of the top 10, Marvel’s Ant-Man has received a new shot at life in foreign territories like China (where it was released a few weeks ago) and has elevated its box office gross to more than $500 million worldwide. Sony Pictures Classics expanded its Oscar hopeful Truth beyond 18 screens to 1,122 locations and saw its attendance spike by more than 729%. It finished with $900k for the weekend. While Truth may have spiked, last week’s Rock the Kasbah and Jem and the Holograms nosedived big time. Neither finished higher than 15th, but to see both lose 76% and 79% of viewers is pretty severe. At least 2009’s Friday the 13th had the excuse of a $40 million opening to offset its 80% drop in attendance for its second weekend. Both of these releases will struggle to make $5 million a piece.

On tap for the weekend we have James Bond squaring off against Charles Schultz as Spectre takes on The Peanuts Movie. In 2012, Skyfall opened at $88 million. I don’t expect the same of Spectre as it doesn’t have the weekend all to itself as a major new release. Second week holdover Wreck-It Ralph made $33 million. Taking into consideration the popularity of the Peanuts brand, I could see it easily finishing with $50 million with Spectre making $65 million.

Top 10 below.

01. The Martian – $11.4 Million ($182.8m)
02. Goosebumps – $10.2 Million ($57.1m)
03. Bridge of Spies – $8 Million ($45.2m)
04. Hotel Transylvania 2 – $5.83 Million ($156m)
05. Burnt – $5 Million
06. The Last Witch Hunter – $4.75 Million ($18.6m)
07. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension – $3.45 Million ($13.56m)
08. Our Brand Is Crisis – $3.43 Million
09. Crimson Peak – $3.11 Million ($27.7m)
10. Steve Jobs – $2.58 Million ($14.5m)

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