This weekend, kid-friendly scares ruled as the PG-rated fright comedy Goosebumps opened at number one with $23.5M to lead the North American box office. Sony’s fourth number one hit of the last seven weeks averaged a good $6,712 from 3,501 locations with many offering it in 3D.
With a known brand (over 400 million books sold worldwide) and a mid-October launch date that gives it two full weeks of play before Halloween, Goosebumps connected with its target audience of kids and parents following in the footsteps of the studio’s Hotel Transylvania 2 from last month.
A promising A CinemaScore grade indicates positive buzz from paying customers which should help over the next few weeks. Jack Black provided a bit of starpower and worked the talk show circuit to convince parents to hit the theaters for a mix of spooky scares and laughs. Reviews were quite good for the $58M production. Bringing an older kid property to the big screen is always a challenge as today’s children will not always find it relevant. But Goosebumps scored and should enjoy a bright road ahead.
Following its two-week reign at number one, Matt Damon’s The Martian slipped to the runner-up spot grossing an estimated $21.5M. Off a reasonable 42%, the Ridley Scott film has now banked $143.8M making it the third highest-grossing film ever for the esteemed director after 2000’s Gladiator ($187.7M) and the following year’s Hannibal ($165.1M). A final domestic take of about $200M seems likely.
Prolific director Steven Spielberg had the first October release of his long career with the Cold War drama Bridge of Spies which debuted in third with an estimated $15.4M. The Tom Hanks starrer averaged a middling $5,471 per theater from 2,811 locations delivering only a moderate turnout. It was well below the openings of other recent star-driven October dramas like Fury ($23.7M), Argo ($19.5M), and the Hanks hit Captain Phillips ($25.7M). Spielberg’s Lincoln opened against the second weekend of Skyfall in 2012 plus had 1,000 fewer theaters than Spies and still bowed to a stronger $21M frame.
Reviews were fantastic for Spies. Given the A-listers behind and in front of the camera, a bigger debut would have been expected. Certainly Martian is pulling away older adults right now and has been performing better than anticipated. Disney’s marketing push on Bridge has also been formidable so awareness among the target audience is high.
October is a great month for scary movies, but Guillermo del Toro’s new supernatural thriller Crimson Peak attracted just a mild debut, opening to an estimated $12.9M from 2,984 locations for a not-so-spooky $4,305 average. It was well below last October’s fright offerings Dracula Untold and Ouija which opened to $23.5M and $19.9M, respectively. Familiar brands helped bring in sales for those which Peak lacked.
Reviews for the R-rated Crimson were fairly decent and the audience gave a B- grade from CinemaScore which is good for this genre. Studio research showed that the crowd was 60% female, 55% over 25, and 52% white. Despite a good pre-Halloween release date, a name director known for creepy fare, and zero horror competition, ticket buyers just did not come out in large numbers for this offering.
Toon titan Hotel Transylvania 2 followed with an estimated $12.3M, off 40%, for a new total of $136.4M. The Sony sequel is running 15% ahead of its 2012 predecessor and could surpass that film’s final total next weekend. Mega-flop Pan tumbled 62% from its lousy opening weekend to grab an estimated $5.9M bringing the total to a disastrous $25.7M for the $150M-budgeted adventure from Warner Bros. A horrible $35M final seems likely adding to a string of underperformers for the studio this year.
The Intern continued to play well with adult women grossing an estimated $5.4M and slipping 38% for Warner Bros. Lionsgate saw its drug drama Sicario fall 41% to an estimated $4.5M. Cumes stand at $58.7M and $34.7M, respectively.
The new high school football drama Woodlawn debuted in ninth place with modest results grossing an estimated $4.1M from 1,553 sites for a weak $2,640 average for Pure Flix. Fox’s action sequel Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials dropped 49% to an estimated $2.8M lifting the sum to $75.4M which is 17% behind where the first Maze was at the same point last fall.
Universal is taking it slow and steady and is earning big rewards for its awards contender Steve Jobs, which almost jumped into the top ten despite playing in only 60 locations. The second weekend expansion for the Danny Boyle hit saw an estimated $1.6M in ticket sales for a potent $25,833 average with a nationwide roll-out into 2,400 locations set for this Friday. Cume is $2.3M.
Making a sparkling debut in platform release was the Toronto International Film Festival’s Audience Award winner Room with an estimated $120,000 from just four sites in New York and Los Angeles for a potent $30,000 average. Reviews were glowing across the board and A24 will expand to five more markets next weekend as it rolls out the film slowly hoping to capitalize on building buzz as more and more audiences see it and start talking about it.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $108.1M which was down 6% from last year when Fury opened at number one with $23.7M; but up 19% from 2013 when Gravity remained in the top spot for a third time with $30M.