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#BoxOffice Report: 'The Martian' Shines, 'The Walk' Falls Off The Wire

The Ridley Scott film could be the biggest October opening ever.

Story by Matt Cummings

If August 2015 broke all kinds of box office records for infamy, October 2015 could do the same but in the more preferred direction. The beginning of the Oscar season kicked off with two very good showings, even though the specter of serious disappointment has already claimed one hopeful submission.

Coming in at No. 1 was Science-Fiction epic The Martian with a stunning $55m haul, which nearly doubles the performance of the No. 2 film. Martian is only $700,000 behind the Oscar winner Gravity, which is also about an American astronaut stranded in space and needing a rescue. Director Ridley Scott is back in a big way with The Martian, which tells of astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) surviving on Mars until a rescue mission can reach him. We loved the movie (read our review HERE), so it was no surprise it resonated with both fans and critics. The impressive performance is just another indication that audiences will watch well-made, scientifically-centered Science-Fiction this late in the year. We'll have to wait to see if it will pull away from the 2013 Alfonso Cuaron game-changer.

Falling to No. 2 was Hotel Transylvania 2, with an estimated $33m, which is just 42% off its opening week. The Adam Sandler/Selena Gomez animated follow-up is scoring high marks among younger audiences, and has already made $90.5m. We loved the film for its comedic sensibilities and willingness to poke good-humored fun at the horror genre (read our review HERE).

The Denis Villeneuve thriller Sicario shot its way to No. 3, debuting with just over $12m. That's a good start for the Benecio del Toro/Emily Blunt border flick, which has resonated well with audiences, scoring a 93% of Rotten Tomatoes and a 90% with critics. We prefer the more realistic 81% from Metacritic, but it's well on its way to establishing itself as a top Oscar contender (read our review HERE).

At No. 4 was The Intern, which took home $11.6m for a total haul of $36.5m. It only experienced a 34.5% drop, which should guarantee a profit for the Anne Hathaway/Robert DeNiro dramedy. Rounding out the top five was Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which took in $7.6m for a total haul of just $63.2m. The film is off nearly $10m from the original Maze Runner over the same 15-day period, so it's clear that audiences might be ready to bid YA a fond farewell.

The one film which did not meet its projections was The Walk, the true story of Phillipe Petit's remarkable highwire walk across the World Trade Centers in 1974. It features dizzying CGI in the last 60 minutes, but its slow build up turned us off, along with some obvious studio house CGI (read our review HERE). The Walk took in only $1.9m, and that's for a five-day haul ($1.5m over the weekend); that's pretty awful, but perhaps a wider release this week will help its very sluggish start. It failed to finish in the top 10.

The weekend finally showed evidence of sustainability again, but there are several potholes through October that could see a return to mostly empty theaters. A quick check of local theaters on both Tuesday Thursday revealed mostly empty parking lots, proving that a lull in the action near Halloween might result in low numbers once again. But, it's clear that in terms of quality, the box office is back with several must-sees, including the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass and the decent Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice.

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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