What’s Behind This Weekend’s Box Office Slump?

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Steve Jobs,’ Vin Diesel disappoint at the box office; ‘Martian’ flies back to No. 1.

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. LOS ANGELES — The expansion of “Steve Jobs” to theaters nationwide and the release of major titles including “The Last Witch Hunter” with Vin Diesel and “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” defied box-office expectations over the weekend — but not in a good way.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. 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. Two years and one Sony hack later, Universal’s released another film about Apple’s founder, but with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning producer Scott Rudin, and a gilded cast—Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen—on board.

The quality of many of these films was so atrocious that it didn’t matter where you opened them,” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “They were never going to do well.” hen the dust settled it was Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” in first place, adding $15.9 million to the Fox release’s impressive $166.4 million domestic haul. 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. Given that the aforementioned supernova of starpower was worth, in ticket sales, only half a million more than Ashton Kutcher with this haircut, it would seem that Jobs’ cult of personality does not have much pull at the megaplex. There’s time yet for Steve Jobs to recover—the movie’s been rapturously received, and awards buzz should buoy its long-view performance—but some will argue that its flop is another symptom of the modern moviegoer’s aversion to quality filmmaking.

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. After being battered by several biographies and decades of unrelenting media coverage, the modern moviegoer is a wee bit exhausted by anything to do with Jobs, and especially indifferent to a movie called Steve Jobs that doesn’t have a big-name star at its helm. (Fassbender is a miracle of an actor, but DiCaprio he is not). The same studio also scored with “Hotel Transylvania 2,” which dropped only 29 percent in its fifth weekend; it finished in fifth, adding $9 million to its total gross, now $148.3 million.

The holiday falls on a Saturday, the busiest day for moviegoing, so studios were hoping to steer clear of what is shaping up to be a dead period by pushing lots of new content into this weekend. 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. Under pressure for the movies to work under the setup, the studio is playing advertisements for “Scouts Guide” during the closing credits of “Paranormal” in some locations. “Rock the Kasbah,” an Open Road Films release starring Bill Murray as a washed-up music producer who finds a star in Afghanistan, barely filled any seats with $1.5 million in 13th place. 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. Paramount is pointing to “Paranormal’s” strong results in circuits like AMC, where it was the top grossing film for the weekend, as evidence that audiences didn’t stay away because they could see the film digitally early. “There’s no question it cost us a lot of box office that major circuits wouldn’t play the film,” said Rob Moore, vice-chairman of Paramount Pictures. “It wasn’t about consumer rejection.” Perhaps the most frustrating stumble was “Steve Jobs,” After scoring the best per-screen average two weeks ago and slowly expanding with positive results, “Steve Jobs” failed to stick the landing when it was finally ready to go nationwide. It’s easy to get lost if you’re a newcomer into such a crowded environment.” As audiences pick and choose where to spend their entertainment dollars, Dergarabedian also notes that there is a handful of probable blockbusters on the way with “Spectre,” ”The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2″ and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” 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. Ultimately the buzz didn’t translate into box office, and making it unlikely that “Steve Jobs” will earn back its $30 million budget and millions more in marketing costs.

Universal said the picture is doing well in major markets like New York and San Francisco, and the studio believes that mounting Oscar buzz will help “Steve Jobs” attract audiences going forward.

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