‘Jem,’ ‘Kasbah,’ ‘Witch Hunter’ tank, ‘Steve Jobs’ fizzles

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Jem,’ ‘Kasbah,’ ‘Witch Hunter’ tank, ‘Steve Jobs’ fizzles.

The pack of new releases proved to be all out duds, some worse than others, leaving room for holdovers “The Martian” and “Goosebumps” to stay in the top spots with $15.9 and $15.5 million, respectively according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. “ Steve Jobs,” “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” “Rock the Kasbah” and “Jem and the Holograms” all fell short, with only “Witch Hunter” cracking $10 million. “Kasbah” and “Jem” now rank among the worst openings of all time, and “Paranormal” missed expectations after weeks of anticipation over its divisive distribution strategy.In a weekend filled with five new wide releases, it was the holdovers that came out on top, with The Martian retaking first place in its fourth weekend. Instead, holdovers “The Martian” and “Goosebumps” came in first and second place, respectively. “The Martian” grossed an estimated $15.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, bringing the space drama’s total to $166 million. “Goosebumps” held strong in its second week, collecting $15.5 million for a cumulative $43.7 million. “Bridge of Spies” fell 26% and grossed an additional $11.4 million in third place.

Universal’s “Steve Jobs” — directed by Danny Boyle, written by Aaron Sorkin and starring Michael Fassbender as the Apple co-founder — had the highest per-screen grosses of the year when it opened in four theaters two week ago. A Paramount Pictures maneuver involving the latest “Paranormal Activity” movie appeared to leave millions of dollars in ticket sales on the table. VIA 0.78 % ’s Paramount Pictures’ “Paranormal Activity,” which has garnered attention thanks to an unusual distribution strategy that has kept it from playing in most major theater chains, missed expectations and scared up only $8.2 million. “Steve Jobs,” the biopic from Comcast Corp.

In the case of “Steve Jobs,” Universal “never actually went out and said, ‘Here is what we think we are going to do this weekend,’” said Nick Carpou, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, in challenging reports that the film had fallen short of expectations. “Steve Jobs,” he said, is not your typical wide release. “This is a long-haul project for us. But The Ghost Dimension, which earned a C CinemaScore, also opened on about half the number of screens as the previous entries in the Paranormal Activity series, as this was the first film to premiere under Paramount’s flexible release plan, which allows the studio to move up the home entertainment release. It is absolutely doing very, very well in upscale sophisticated major markets.” Last week’s No. 1 movie, Sony Pictures Animation’s “Goosebumps,” based on R.L. CNK 2.01 % The nation’s second-largest exhibitor, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., AMC 2.62 % overperformed with the title after it was only major circuit to show it. “We’re accepting the fact on this movie that the box office will be affected,” said Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman, adding that its long-term benefits include potentially higher digital sales and the ability to toy with a distribution schedule “currently dictated by exhibition.” The last “Paranormal” film opened in about 2,900 locations to $18.3 million, and Paramount had expected the latest to gross between $10 million and $12 million this weekend. Jem’s $1.3 million debut and Kasbah’s $1.5 million make them the third and fourth worst wide-release openings in box office history, clocking in behind 2012’s Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure ($443,901) and 2008’s Delgo ($511,920).

The sharp decline did not appear to be the result of fading interest — pre-release surveys indicated a solid amount of moviegoer enthusiasm — but rather a shortage of theaters. Several of the theaters that agreed to show the film after major exhibitors bowed out were discount houses with small capacities that consumers often don’t turn to for wide releases, added Mr. The same studio also scored with “Hotel Transylvania 2,” which dropped only 29% in its fifth weekend; it finished in fifth, adding $9 million to its total gross of $148.3 million. Coming in behind “The Ghost Dimension” was “Steve Jobs” (Universal), which collected a disappointing $7.3 million in its first weekend of wide release, for a new total of about $10 million. Universal is hoping that the art film, which cost $30 million to make and at least that much to market, will benefit in the weeks ahead from positive word of mouth and early traction on the annual film awards circuit.

Universal isn’t disappointed with the expansion numbers and anticipates that “Steve Jobs” will continue to be in the cultural conversation, especially as the awards season kicks off. The studio made a deal with AMC Theatres and Cineplex Entertainment to make “Ghost Dimension” available on VOD just 17 days after the film theater count falls below 300. “We went into the movie with a very specific goal, and the goal was to learn something, because there is no doubt in our minds for the longtime financial health of our business, we need to come up with a more modern approach to exhibition,” said Megan Colligan, head of Paramount’s worldwide marketing and distribution. Over the past month we’ve had on average at least three new wide release films entering the marketplace every week,” Dergarabedian said. “Audiences, and particularly older audiences for whom these films have great appeal, they’re staying away. It is also true with a CinemaScore like that and the qualities of the film that resonated most, there is life in this film in ancillary markets later.” Of the new art house releases, Focus Features’ historical drama “Suffragette” starring Cary Mulligan earned an estimated $77,000 in just four theaters for a per-screen average of $19,250, the weekend’s highest. Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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