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Monday, October 12, 2015

#BoxOffice Report: 'The Martian' Continues Its Run, 'Pan' Fails to Appeal

The Martian keeps the rescue coming, while Pan walks the plank.

Story by Matt Cummings

As discussed in our Inside the Bucket podcast this weekend, the US box office proved once again that legitimately bad press can kill a movie long before it gets released. Meanwhile, Ridley Scott's newest film continues to impress.

Leading the box office for the second consecutive week is The Martian with a very good $37.01m haul, dropping only 32% from its release. That's better than 2014's Interstellar, which dropped 40% in its second week. Riding high on critical and popular praise, the Matt Damon survival film has already made a stunning $108.72m by emphasizing friendly teamwork and no manufactured drama.

Remaining at a distant No. 2 was Hotel Transylvania 2, with an estimated $20.42m, dropping only 38% in its third week. The Adam Sandler/Selena Gomez animated follow-up is really the only game in town for families, but that's not the only reason why it's doing so well. Led by strong tracking numbers, it's been a welcome shot-in-the-arm for beleaguered Sony Pictures, who hadn't had a $100m picture in 2015 until Transylvania. Read our review HERE.

This weekend also saw what damage bad press can do to a premiere. Coming in at a very soft $15.32m was the re-re-reboot of Pan, starring Hugh Jackman, and Garrett Hedlund. With a budget of $150m, the film had divided audiences almost from the start, when it was announced that both Tinkerbell would not have a major role, and that the Native American part of Tiger Lily would be given to a white actress (Rooney Mara). The result was a flashy yet disappointing affair, with odd musical choices and an origin story that just didn't stick with us (you can read our review HERE). Although it's received a good B+ from CinemaScore, we think it won't hold up with less-than curious audiences who have no vested interest in the franchise. There's no word of how this affect Pan's bottom line, but even with the most meager of expectations, this one will have trouble throughout October.

The news isn't all bad at Warner Bros. The Anne Hathaway/Robert DeNiro dramedy The Intern held firm in fourth place with $8.68m. The Nancy Meyers film slid only 26%, led by strong word of mouth (not from us from older moviegoers. Its success is also due to a lack of comedies out there, forcing audiences to pick from this kind of low-hanging fruit. and the relative lack of comedies in the current marketplace are all helping boost holding power for the film. The Intern has grossed $49.59m in 17 days.

Staying in the top five was the Denis Villeneuve thriller Sicario, taking in $7.58m. Lionsgate has enjoyed strong support with critics, resulting in only a 38% drop from last weekend. That's a good percentage for a film of htis type, but it's not quite sticking with audiences who might not be recommending it to their friends. Still, Emily Blunt/Benicio Del Toro/Josh Brolin Sicario has grossed a solid $26.94m in 24 days of release. We still think it represents one of the best films we've seen all year, and it's something you should take time to see (read our review HERE).

Sustainability is Still a Problem
While these overall numbers are good, we're still a little worried about late October, as we wrote about last week. All of these films could stick around - not because they're resonating with audiences and thus enterting the zeitgeist - but because there's just nothing else better out there. And yet even with those lack of choices, audiences are still staying away from The Walk, which came in a distant No. 7 with just $3.72m. But even with significantly better choices out there, including leftovers Black Mass and Pawn Sacrifice, audiences could take on a "What have you done for me lately?" expectation, rather than rewarding Hollywood for its perseverance.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.


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