Weekend Box Office: The Martian Climbs Back to Number One As Four New Releases …

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Huge Flops Hit the Box Office.

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. There is not much cause for celebration at the box office this weekend. “Jem and the Holograms” became one of the worst debuts of all time for a major studio movie opening in over 2,000 locations with a truly outrageous $1.3 million.

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 Last Witch Hunter, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Jem and the Holograms, and Rock the Kasbah all opened below expectations, and Steve Jobs, which expanded nationwide after two weekends in limited release, also fell flat. By cutting theater chains in on digital revenues, Paramount, the studio behind the horror franchise, was allowed to release the film online 17 days after it left most screens. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Rentrak, reports “The Last Witch Hunter” also made its international debut this weekend, grossing an estimated $13.4 million from 53 markets. It could have revolutionized the movie business, offering up a new model for the way that Hollywood releases its more modestly budgeted offerings for mass consumption.

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. That was the worst kick-off in the franchise’s six-film history and significantly below tracking that suggested it might open to $20 million if it had more screens. “My gut reaction was it probably wasn’t worth it to alienate theater owners,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “But the franchise was dying so it probably seemed like a good idea to try to change things up.” The bad blood that erupted may make other studios leery of trying to mess around with distribution models. Stine, is set up nicely to take advantage of the upcoming Halloween festivities.” Opening on Friday: “Our Brand Is Crisis” with Sandra Bullock, “Burnt” starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” and “Truth” with Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford as former CBS producer Mary Mapes and anchor Dan Rather. In 2011, Universal was eager to see if they could get customers to part with $60 to watch “Tower Heist” in their homes three weeks after the comedy hit theaters. Bill Murray’s “Rock the Kasbah” barely did better in ticket sales, pulling in only $1.5 million from 2,012 theaters, but it also cost three times as much as “Jem” to produce.

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). Just as they did when Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation” whiffed in theaters after debuting simultaneously on the company’s streaming service, look for certain sectors of the exhibition community to label the “Paranormal” experiment as a failed one and to argue that theatrical windows should not shrink. 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.

Customers didn’t appear to be staying away because the film could be available to watch at home in a matter of weeks as opposed to the standard 90 days. Poor reviews might have sunk “Witch Hunter,” “Jem” and “Kasbah,” but good reviews couldn’t propel Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs” to flashy heights. The chain was the weekend’s best performing circuit, producing $15 million in revenue, with the “Paranormal” sequel accounting for $3.1 million of that figure, the most of any film it showed. 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. And Steven Spielberg’s Cold War drama Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks, held up well in its second weekend, earning $11.4 million for a domestic total of $32.6 million.

Paramount and other studios looking to experiment with earlier home entertainment releases believe that there needs to be greater flexibility in how films are distributed. AMC and Cineplex agreed to participate in the model, but others refused to play the movie. “It feels to us really clear that any issues that we had were not related to consumer behavior,” said Megan Colligan, Paramount’s president of worldwide distribution and marketing. “There’re just too many films being released into the marketplace. Marketing costs continue to rise and they would like to see smaller films debut on-demand and on disc earlier so they can piggy back on the promotional roll out for their theatrical releases. 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. They’re not looking to play around with the distribution patterns for pictures like “Jurassic World” or “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” just smaller films that often struggle to attract big crowds.

That’s costly for studios, it puts them in an even deeper financial hole and it makes them less likely to back pictures that aren’t sequels or comic book adaptations. Theatrical exclusivity is seen as an important advantage at a time when digital forms of entertainment are dominant, streaming services like Netflix offer easy and cheap access to content, and television overflows with a wealth of high-quality shows. They fear ceding ground by allowing studios to collapse the window between a film’s theatrical debut and its home entertainment launch would be catastrophic.

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