Weekend Box Office

Box Office: James Bond Tops Weekend With Strong Opening

The Peanuts Movie takes second with solid debut, while The Martian falls to third.

by | November 8, 2015 | Comments

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This weekend, James Bond was back on top of the box office as the newest installment in the unstoppable spy franchise, SPECTRE, debuted at number one with an estimated $73M, giving the marketplace a much needed jolt. The debut ranks as the second biggest Bond opening ever, trailing the last film Skyfall, which bowed to $88.4M this very weekend in 2012. The prior chapter, 2008’s Quantum of Solace, opened to $67.5M with lower ticket prices and no IMAX screens and actually attracted a slightly larger crowd than SPECTRE did this weekend.

Made by Sony and MGM, the new Bond flick came in on the lower end of industry expectations. Marketing hype was on high as usual, but franchise fatigue and mixed reviews from critics contributed to the $15M fall from the last chapter’s opening. Still, SPECTRE delivered a strong debut and has little competition next weekend and should be able to finish its run as the second biggest film in the series. The production cost was mammoth this time with a budget estimated to be in the $250-300M range following the jackpot scored by Skyfall which grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide.

An A- CinemaScore shows that paying audiences are mostly satisfied with what they got. $9.1M of the gross came from 374 IMAX screens and overall, the PG-13 film averaged $18,580 from 3,929 locations.

As with so many major action film franchises, robust overseas grosses are making up for a domestic slowdown. 71 new international markets opened this weekend combining for a stellar $117.8M over the frame. With some markets debuting last week such as the U.K., the offshore cume is now $227M putting the global gross at $300M with plenty more to come. Several markets outperformed or matched Skyfall. The 14-day cume in the U.K. has broken $100M already and exceeds what the last 007 did in the same number of days.

A handful of major markets are still to come including France, Australia, South Korea, and China later this week, and then Japan a few weeks afterwards. 73% of Skyfall‘s worldwide haul came from outside of North America. With rapid growth in China over the last three years, and U.S. results slowing, look for that share to jump into the 75-80% region. Another Billion Dollar Bond is possible here.

Opening to healthy results in second place was Fox’s The Peanuts Movie with an estimated $45M from 3,897 locations for a strong $11,547 average. That ties it for the best opening weekend of all-time for a G-rated film outside of the Pixar machine. 2008’s Horton Hears A Who from the Dr. Seuss brand opened to the same level while the top nine G debuts ever all come from the Pixar library building off of the top brand name in animation.

The Peanuts debut showed that the Charlie Brown property is still relevant and popular. Multiple generations made it out and the road ahead looks quite bright. Reviews were very strong, the CinemaScore grade was a glowing A, and there are no direct competitors until Thanksgiving. Studio research indicated that the crowd was 55% female, 54% over 25, 55% non-white, and 70% family. Snoopy and pals came in just a bit below the $48.5M debut of the recent toon sequel Hotel Transylvania 2, but above Rio, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, and their sequels. It also beat five of the last seven offerings from DreamWorks Animation.

After holding the number one spot for four of the last five weekends, the smash hit The Martian dropped to third with an estimated $9.3M and still held up extremely well dipping a mere 21%. This was an exceptional performance considering last week included a special IMAX run and that SPECTRE is taking away much of the same audience. A true crowdpleaser with electric word-of-mouth, Martian is now Ridley Scott’s highest grossing film ever surpassing the $187.7M of Gladiator from 15 years ago.

The Martian is partly to blame for so many films aimed at mature adults underperforming or utterly flopping this fall. In Trump-like fashion, the Matt Damon hit has sucked up all the oxygen in the room and has commanded the attention and chatter of moviegoers since opening at the beginning of October. By the end of this week it will crack $200M on its way to challenging the $227.5M of The Bourne Ultimatum to become Damon’s top film ever.

With Halloween gone and younger kids shifting over to Charlie Brown, Sony’s Goosebumps posted a terrific hold dipping only 29% to an estimated $7M in its fourth round. Cume is $66.4M. The Spielberg-Hanks project Bridge of Spies also held up well again slipping 28% to an estimated $6.1M for a new total of $55M. Despite great legs, strong reviews, and starpower, the Disney release is still on track to finish up as one of the director’s lowest grossing wide releases ever.

This weekend, Hotel Transylvania 2 became the fourth career hit for Adam Sandler to break $160M domestic. The toon sequel dropped 39% to an estimated $3.6M bumping the sum up to $161.3M. By next weekend, the Sony hit will surpass the studio’s own Big Daddy from 1999 to become the funnyman’s top grossing film ever.

Following its dismal $5M debut from over 3,000 theaters, Bradley Cooper’s Burnt fell 40% in its second weekend to an estimated $3M giving The Weinstein Co. a puny $10.2M to date. Look for an awful $17M final. Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter dropped 49% to an estimated $2.7M putting Lionsgate at $23.6M to date.

With so many films for grown-ups struggling or failing outright this fall season, a bright spot has come from The Intern, which has quietly amassed a stellar $71.4M. The Warner Bros. release collected an estimated $1.8M in its seventh weekend slipping only 25%. In fact, it has never dropped by more than 37% on any frame. Despite mixed reviews and an enormous amount of competition for adults, mostly serious fare, this light comedy has been powered by older women and should finish in the $75-80M range. The international run has also been successful delivering $108.6M to date for a global take of $180M.

Rounding out the top ten was Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which fell a sharp 52% from Halloween weekend to an estimated $1.7M. Paramount’s latest chapter from its aging horror franchise has banked only $16.3M.

Among awards hopefuls platforming in New York and Los Angeles, Open Road’s Spotlight bowed to an estimated $302,000 from five locations for a scorching $60,400 average. Fantastic reviews across the board helped as did starpower from Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams. Spotlight widens to about 60 theaters in 18 markets on Friday. Also loved by critics was Fox Searchlight’s Brooklyn, which debuted to an estimated $181,000, from five houses (none in Brooklyn!), for a solid $36,200 average. Cume from the Wednesday release is $237,000 over five days. Five new markets open next weekend.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $153M which was up 7% from last year when Big Hero 6 opened at number one with $56.2M; but down 3% from 2013 when Thor: The Dark World debuted in the top spot with $85.7M.

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