Weekend Box Office (October 16 - 18, 2015)

by Gitesh Pandya

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.

But the road ahead could be bright. An A CinemaScore indicates great word of mouth and older-skewing films tend to draw their audience over a longer time period. Demos showed that the audience was 53% male and 43% were of age 50 and over. Films for grown-ups keep rolling in every week so even if Bridge of Spies has good legs, its final may reach around $60M which would be Spielberg's lowest gross ever for films playing in 1,500+ theaters.

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.

Compared to projections, Goosebumps opened above my $20M forecast while both Bridge of Spies and Crimson Peak came in under my prediction of $18M for each.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Last Witch Hunter, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Rock The Kasbah, and Jem and the Holograms all open.

# Title Oct 16 - 18 Oct 9 - 11 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Goosebumps $ 23,500,000 3,501 1 $ 6,712 $ 23,500,000 Sony
2 The Martian 21,500,000 37,005,266 -41.9 3,701 3 5,809 143,796,000 Fox
3 Bridge of Spies 15,380,000 2,811 1 5,471 15,380,000 Disney
4 Crimson Peak 12,850,000 2,984 1 4,306 12,850,000 Universal
5 Hotel Transylvania 2 12,250,000 20,420,392 -40.0 3,533 4 3,467 136,400,000 Sony
6 Pan 5,860,000 15,315,435 -61.7 3,515 2 1,667 25,738,000 Warner Bros.
7 The Intern 5,405,000 8,678,187 -37.7 2,707 4 1,997 58,731,000 Warner Bros.
8 Sicario 4,500,000 7,579,324 -40.6 2,130 5 2,113 34,663,000 Lionsgate
9 Woodlawn 4,100,000 1,553 1 2,640 4,100,000 Pure Flix
10 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials 2,750,000 5,371,941 -48.8 1,967 5 1,398 75,412,000 Fox
Top 5 $ 85,480,000 $ 88,998,604 -4.0
Top 10 108,095,000 106,804,689 1.2
Top 10 vs. 2014 108,095,000 115,233,422 -6.2
Top 10 vs. 2013 108,095,000 90,753,518 19.1
Below the Top 10:
Steve Jobs 1,550,000 521,522 197.2 60 2 25,833 2,260,000 Universal
Black Mass 1,270,000 3,118,427 -59.3 1,055 5 1,204 60,222,000 Warner Bros.
The Walk 1,200,000 3,719,177 -67.7 2,489 3 482 9,174,000 Sony
Everest 1,170,000 3,073,035 -61.9 950 5 1,232 40,750,000 Universal
The Visit 1,150,000 2,523,505 -54.4 1,068 6 1,077 63,070,000 Universal
War Room 900,000 1,850,214 -51.4 799 8 1,126 65,373,000 Sony
Ladrones 675,000 1,411,031 -52.2 375 2 1,800 2,442,000 Lionsgate
The Perfect Guy 600,000 1,415,640 -57.6 485 6 1,237 55,800,000 Sony
Room 120,000 4 1 30,000 120,000 A24
Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 105,000 49 1 2,143 105,000 Reliance

Last Updated: October 18, 2015 at 3:55PM ET

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