‘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. 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.The national expansion of “Steve Jobs” and new releases including “The Last Witch Hunter” with Vin Diesel and “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” defied box office expectation — but not in a good way.

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.

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 its total to an impressive $166 million. “Goosebumps” held strong in its second week, collecting $15.5 million for a cumulative $43.7 million. “Bridge of Spies” fell only 26% and grossed an additional $11.4 million in third place. The “Steve Jobs” opening is far below the $22.4 million debut of writer Aaron Sorkin’s last take on Silicon Valley executives, the Oscar-winning “The Social Network.” It’s barely better than the $6.7 million opening of “Jobs,” the widely panned 2013 film starring Ashton Kutcher as the voluble businessman. “Rock the Kasbah,” starring Bill Murray as a washed-up music producer who finds a star in Afghanistan, barely filled any seats with $1.5 million. That would have been a record low for a movie opening this year in wide release – had “Jem and the Holograms” not also opened this weekend and taken the dubious distinction. None of the weekend’s flops will garner as much attention as “Jem and the Holograms,” though, which opened to $1.3 million to become one of the worst debuts of all time for a major studio movie opening in over 2,000 locations. 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.

Of the new arrivals, audiences liked “Steve Jobs” best, giving it an “A-” grade, according to the CinemaScore market research firm. “Jem” received a “B+” and “Witch Hunter” and “Kasbah” each got a “B-.” “Paranormal” received a “C.” 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. 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.

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. Three of the four major American theater chains refused to play the film after Paramount decided to make “The Ghost Dimension” available on fast-growing digital services just 17 days after they leave most theaters in return for a cut of digital revenue. Theaters typically insist on a 90-day exclusive window to play new films. “We are hopeful that eliminating the gap between the theatrical window and the digital window will yield significant additional revenue,” Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman, said in an email on Sunday. 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.

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. 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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