5TH UPDATE, Sunday 8:20 AM Final: In a weekend with distributors offering five wide entries, most of which were paltry, audiences decided what was old was new for them as 20th Century Fox’s The Martian shot its way back to No. 1 with an estimated $15.9M and $166.4M. Sony’s Goosebumps chased behind in No. 2 with a studio-reported $15.5M, down 34% at 3,501 theaters and a 10-day take of $43.7M.

The Martian solar panelsNonetheless, the flood of wide releases didn’t boost business in any way whatsoever. Rentrak Theatrical is reporting tickets sales at $104M, which is down 15% from last weekend and 10% off from the same weekend a year ago. Brace yourselves, because we’re all going to slide down this hill next weekend before Sony’s Spectre arrives to boost business. Distribution chiefs aren’t scared about trick or treaters throwing toilet paper in their trees next weekend, no, no: Halloween falling on a Saturday is like taking an axe to a box office cash register. There’s no good to come from it, and that’s why most distribs rushed out five wide releases this weekend.

Beamed 20th Century Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson this AM about The Martian‘s continued performance, “This is a movie that works for everyone from 8 years old to 80, from Maine to Maui. It’s consummate popular entertainment. The box office is reminiscent of the film’s astronaut Mark Watney — incredibly resilient.” 3D is still a driver for The Martian at 34% of its B.O.. The Ridley Scott-directed film will get some extra rocket fuel next weekend when it adds 365 Imax runs.

ghost dimension 9With a number of the new titles bombing, it’s been a riveting weekend. One ripe with lessons, particularly as Paramount trotted out their experimental limited release of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension in the face of all this, which puts the onus ultimately on VOD delivering. Despite Ghost Dimension‘s deep-sixing at the B.O. with $8.2M (the lowest opening ever for the franchise) at 1,656 theaters (42% fewer venues than The Marked Ones), the question is whether some of these tanked titles could maximize their revenue by heading to VOD/home entertainment ASAP, and cutting a get-out-of-jail-free deal with exhibitors. Elsewhere, among newcomers, Universal’s expansion of Steve Jobs came in at a studio-reported  $7.267M in seventh place for a three weekend cume of $9.98M. It carries an A- CinemaScore. The studio’s Blumhouse $5M co-production, Jem and the Hologramswas more an ’80s big hair disaster at $1.3M at 2,413 hubs in 15th place. Open Road’s Rock the Kasbah slotted in No. 13 above Jem, but with a much older audience, with $1.5M at 2,012 venues.  

Here’s a deeper diver as to how the titles went down:

The Last Witch Hunter (Lionsgate) in No. 4. Est. Opening global Weekend B.O.: $24.2m Stateside domestic opening: $10.8M Current Est. Rental: $12.1M Est. cost: $75M-$80M: When you’re facing a slew of frosh competition, Vin Diesel is probably the best thing you can have in your camp, particularly with 108M strong social media followers across Facebook and Twitter. Most last witch hunterof his fans showed up at 66% on day one, and Saturday stateside saw a rise in its grosses of 13%, one of the only titles this weekend to see a rise. However, the masses did not turn out for this solo effort by the actor en masse, even on a global basis where it launched in 53 markets making $13.4M. This film is far from breakeven for any party involved and Spectre is lurking around the corner ready to clip this film and any other over 25 male title. In regards to Vin Diesel’s films in above 2,000 engagements, Witch Hunter is one of his lowest openers, in the company of Fox’s Babylon A.D. ($9.5M). I’m told Lionsgate has $10M exposure here thanks to a mitigation model of co-financing and foreign pre-sales, but others have nudged me that it’s much higher. Had this film been cheaper like Vin Diesel’s Riddick at $38M, the bloodshed here would be less. A lot of this goes down to the type of material that Vin Diesel selects outside Fast and Furious. I would like to still think there’s hope for him with XXX 3 coming up, but one rival studio executive provided a cold, hard assessment this AM: “He’s not a movie star outside the Fast & Furious franchise.” Male-female were evenly split. 67% were over 25 / 33% under 25.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Paramount/Blumhouse) in No. 6  Opening global Weekend B.O.: $26.2M  Est. Weekend B.O.: $8.2M Current Est. Rental: $13.1M Est. cost: Mid-teen millionsThe film came in below its $10M-$12M projection stateside, but worldwide the sixth Paranormal title looks to be in better shape before factoring in P&A costs. What ticks rival distributors off here is that Paramount left money on the table by not getting all the exhibitors on board with their accelerated VOD plan. The film ghost dimension played well at AMC chains where it made $3.1M and beat others’ titles – because it was primarily the one chain that played the movie.  3D was a driver repping 56% of the gross. Paramount has no regrets: They believe that the accelerated VOD plan, whereby Ghost Dimension heads to VOD after 17 days post 300 runs, is the best path to profit. This was a similar course taken with Hot Tub Time Machine 2. That film made more on VOD than theatrical ($12.3M), and overindexed VOD projections by 3X. Again, this model is best per the studio’s thinking for those films that have a quick burn, not the Mission: Impossibles and the Spectres and tentpoles of the world. 53% male, and 51% over 25 were the dominant crowd. Jem and Rock the Kasbah might have had the premium theaters this weekend, but they’re going to disappear. Per the Paramount model, Jem and Rock the Kasbah won’t maximize their revenue since they have to wait six weeks before they hit VOD. And it doesn’t hurt Regal or other exhibitors if these titles hit VOD sooner. Said one Par insider, “We have a crazy ability to use basic technology to provide consumers with content in a seamless way. TV, music sports do it on multi-platforms.” The current theatrical 90-day window model is antiquated and not ripe for every title. When it comes to promos, Paramount didn’t bail on this movie, playing it at the closing night of Hollywood’s ScreamFest and holding a 3D fear lab at New York Comic-Con and local festivals. RelishMix reports Ghost Dimension‘s social media universe at 51.6M and its Facebook at 19M worldwide fans. Of the 14 videos natively posted for Ghost Dimension, four have topped 1M views.

Steve Jobs (Universal/Legendary) in No. 7 Weekend B.O.: $7.3M Current Est. Rental: $3.65M Est. Budget: $30MThis awards Film Title: Steve Jobscontender didn’t pop in its expansion from 60 sites to 2,493. I hear that it played strong to upscale audiences in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the Arclights, Union Square and The Grove. This isn’t a genre film that’s going to burn out, rather one that adults will find as it gathers noms. Uni is now tasked with keeping this film in enough theaters throughout the competitive awards season. Marketing spend per one source is $35M-$40M. Yes, that casts a long shadow on the film. Note, that’s just not money spent to open the movie, but to win awards too. Complain all you want about this title underperforming, but it’s too soon to exercise last rites on this movie: it hasn’t even opened abroad, particularly in director Danny Boyle, Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet’s homeland of the U.K. CinemaScore is at an A- with glowing critical reviews.  49% under age 35, 51% age 35 and older. 51% female, 49% male.

Rock the Kasbah (Open Road) in No. 13 Weekend B.O.: $1.5M Current Est. Rental: $750K: Should it have platformed instead of going wide in 2,012? Should it have released at a different time of year? No, because the CinemaScore says otherwise with a B-. St. Vincent, which earned an A-, this film is not. Wes Anderson this is not. So even if Open Road platformed Kasbah, it would have just been spreading bad word of mouth among the audience. Adding further fuel to the fire: critics hate it. So, it’s done. Murray’s older fans came out for him, at 54% over 50, and 84% over 35. Shia LaBeouf bailed on this movie soon after announcing his hiatus from films in March 2014; he must have seen the writing on the wall.

Jem and the Holograms in No. 15 (Universal/Hasbro/Blumhouse) Est. Weekend B.O.: $1.3M, Current Est. Rental:$650K Est. cost: $5M: Why? Scroll down to yesterday’s post and you’ll see various reasons as to why they shouldn’t. It’s fair to say that this isn’t the type of film that’s in Blumhouse’s wheelhouse, except for its budget. Uni went along for the ride given how cheap it was. If they were looking to bury the film, well then this was the weekend to do so against four other wide titles. Given its niche play, Jem is the type of film, along with Kasbah, that could benefit from an expedited VOD plan much like Paramount is proposing (they just need to get more major chain exhibs on board in the first go-round). Jem‘s per screen is un-glitzy at $545 at 2,413 venues. At $10 an average ticket, that means 54 people showed up at each venue. The film’s B+ CinemaScore doesn’t mean anything: Very few were in the theater. Why release it then in so many theaters? Jem director Jon Chu, who delivered the keynote at the Film Independent Forum, had to take time out of the beginning of his speech yesterday to defend the film to the audience.  He said he was receiving “death threats” from fans: Somewhere, some place, the proper research wasn’t done to determine if this property was still viable in 2015. In the end, this is a tap on Uni’s chin. They have more to sweat about in regards to making Steve Jobs’ figures down the road.

The top 10 studio-reported films for the weekend of Oct. 23-25 as compiled by Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka:

1). The Martian (FOX), 3,504 theaters (-197) / $4.4M Fri.  / $7.3M Sat (+67%) / $4.2M Sun. (-42%) /3-day cume:$15.9M (-25%)/ Total cume: $166.4M /Wk 4

2). Goosebumps (SONY), 3,501 theaters (0) / $3.95M Fri. / $7.05M Sat (+78%) / $4.5M Sun. (-36%) / 3-day cume:$15.5M (-34%)/Total cume: $43.7M /Wk 2

3). Bridge Of Spies (DIS), 2,811 theaters (0) / $3.3M Fri. / $5.1M Sat (+54%) / $2.9M Sun. (-44%) /3-day cume:$11.4M (-26%)/Total cume: $32.6M /Wk 2

4). The Last Witch Hunter (LGF), 3,082 theaters / $3.8M Fri. /$4.3M Sat (+13%) / $2.8M Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $10.8M /Wk 1

5). Hotel Transylvania 2 (SONY), 3,154 theaters (-379) / $2.2M Fri. / $4.1M Sat (+89%) / $2.7M Sun. (-35%) /3-day cume: $9M (-29%) / Total cume: $148.3M /Wk 3

6). Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (PAR), 1,656 theaters / $3.45M Fri. /$3.2M Sat (-8%) / $1.6M Sun. (-51%) / 3-day cume: $8.2M /Wk 1

7). Steve Jobs (UNI), 2,493 theaters (+2,433)/ $2.4M Fri./$3M Sat (+22%) / $1.8M Sun. (-38%) / 3-day cume:$7.3M (+380%)/ Total cume: $10M/Wk 3

8). Crimson Peak (UNI), 2,991 theaters (+7)/ $1.8M Fri. /$2.4M Sat (+37%) / $1.3M Sun. (-45%) / 3-day cume:$5.6M (-58%)/ Total cume: 22.5M /Wk 2

9). The Intern (WB), 2,061 theaters (-646)/ $1.1M Fri. /$1.75M Sat (+54%) / $970K Sun. (-45%) / 3-day cume:$3.9M (-29%)/Total cume: $64.7M/ Wk 5

10). Woodlawn (PURE), 1,475 theaters (-78) / $775K Fri./ $1M Sat (+32%) / $750K Sun. (-25%) /3-day cume: $2.55M(-36%) /Total cume: $7.9M /Wk 2

11). Sicario (LGF), 1,448 theaters (-682) / $811K Fri./ $1.3M Sat (+58%) / $854K Sun. (-34%) /3-day cume: $3M(-35%) /Total cume: $39.4M /Wk 5

NOTABLES:

Rock The Kasbah (OPEN), 2,012 theaters / $530K Fri. /$594K Sat (+12%) / $386K Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume:$1.5M /Wk 1

Jem And The Holograms (UNI), 2,413 theaters / $458K Fri. /$567K Sat (+24%) / $290K Sun. (-49%) / 3-day cume: $1.3M /Wk 1

Shaandaar (FIP), 136 theaters / $126K Fri. /$159K Sat (+26%) / $95K Sun. (-40%) / 3-day cume: $380K /Wk 1

Room (A24), 23 theaters (+19)/ $75K Fri. / $102K Sat (+35%) / $76K Sun. (-25%) /3-day cume: $253K(+114%)/Total cume: 408K / Wk 2

Truth (SPC), 18 theaters (+12)/ $30K Fri. / $49K Sat (+60%) / $38K Sun. (-25%) /3-day cume: $118K (+78%)/Total cume: 213K / Wk 2

Suffragette (FOC), 4 theaters / $23K Fri. /$32K Sat (+40%) / $24K Sun. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $78K /Per screen: 20K /Wk 1

I Smile Back  (BGP), 2 theaters / $6K Fri. /$6K Sat (-3%) / $4K Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $15K /Wk 1

Beasts Of No Nation  (BST), 21 theaters (-10)/ $4K Fri. / $6K Sat (+69%) / $4K Sun. (-40%) /3-day cume: $13K(-74%)/Total cume: 84K / Wk 2 

Heart Of A Dog  (ABR), 1 theaters / $4K Fri. /$5K Sat (+36%) / $3K Sun. (-40%) / 3-day cume: $12K /Wk 1

4TH UPDATE Saturday 9:44AM & 3RD UPDATE 3:11AM: Distributors backed up their trucks at the multiplex this weekend and dumped their lowest of low-brow fare with Paramount’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Lionsgate’s The Last Witch Hunter coming in well below weekend projections, while Universal/Hasbro’s Jem and the Holograms and Open Road’s Rock the Kasbah are eating dirt.

martianAs we pointed out Friday afternoon, the holdovers are set to conquer the weekend: This morning’s receipts show a wider gap between 20th Century Fox’s The Martian and Sony’s Goosebumps with both bound to settle respectively for No. 1 and No. 2.

How did this pile-up of four wide entries and an expansion happen? Basically, everyone is trying to avoid Halloween (which falls on a Saturday) next weekend and Spectre, which is going to steal business away during the first weekend in November. Also figuring in was distribs scrambling with their titles in response to The Martian opening earlier in October and Steve Jobs changing up its pattern.

Heading into the weekend, it appeared in tracking as though Paramount, Lionsgate and Universal were pitting three titles — Ghost Dimension, Witch Hunter and Jem —simultaneously at the under 25 demo. However, The Last Witch Hunter skewed much older last night drawing 71% over 25 while Jem went all girl. If anything, it will be Witch Hunter biting into Ghost Dimension‘s ticket sales, with the Paramount film now projected to come in much lower than the $7.8M FSS we saw last night.

Here’s how the new titles went down:

The Last Witch Hunter (Lionsgate) in No. 4. Friday B.O.: $3.7M  Est. Weekend B.O.: $9.5M Current Est. Rental: $4.25M Est. cost: $75M-$80M:
Of all the films opening this weekend, this title, one would think, would post a decent opening thanks to Vin Diesel’s muscular social media presence that includes close to 108M fans across Facebook and Instagram. His tub thumping brought fans out on The Last Witch HunterFriday night, repping 66% of the crowd. However, when a star’s the only draw, it means weekend business is front-loaded. Lower than expected grosses (industry projection was $13.3M, Lionsgate had it it higher) and a B- CinemaScore don’t bode well for this pic’s stateside prospects. Last Witch Hunter is opening 50% below Diesel’s last solo outing Riddick ($19M) and at a production cost that’s 111% higher (Riddick was $38M).  This is another case of Vin Diesel committing to material that falls short of reinventing the action genre (something each Fast & Furious sequel does, not to mention XXX‘s twist on the spy film). Lionsgate has covered the cost of Last Witch Hunter via foreign pre-sales and co-financing. One insider close to the film says that Lionsgate has $10M production capital at risk going into the P&A spend. However, a rival foreign sales executive exclaims that breakeven for Witch Hunter is impossible; that Lionsgate is still in the hole for at least another $30M P&A. Even with the title heading out into 53 markets this weekend, should Last Witch Hunter underperform, everyone loses money. One upside this morning for Lionsgate, Sicario looks to have popped back into the top 10 with a total cume through its sixth sesh heading toward $39M.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Paramount/Blumhouse) Friday B.O.: $3.3M Est. Weekend B.O.: $6.9M Current Est. Rental: $3.45M Est. cost: Teen millionsGhost Dimension is floating in far below its $10M-$12M estimate, and that’s ghost dimensionwith 3D ticket prices. It won’t be around in theaters for long, which means that Paramount’s insurance plan to segue the title to a VOD window (after this sequel drops below 300 runs) kicks in. While rival distribs believe that Ghost Dimension could have made more as a wide release, it’s clear this ghostly franchise has run out of gas. Let’s put the series back in the vault for a few years until it’s prime for a reboot. If this new distribution experiment truly works, and VOD rallies like it did for Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (which apparently overindexed on VOD 3x its projection, with revenue ultimately besting the film’s dismal $12.3M domestic B.O.), well then, Paramount, please report the numbers. The perks of moving Ghost Dimension straight from theatrical to VOD (in less than 90 days) means the property has a better chance of resonating and recouping in the home entertainment market without any gaps. Because Paramount got shorted by exhibs in regards to Ghost Dimension‘s playdates, I’m told about 700 of the film’s runs are in less-than-premium venues. Furthermore, the studio doesn’t have to overspend on marketing. CinemaScore last night was C, improving upon the previous sequel’s C-.

Steve Jobs (Universal/Legendary) Friday B.O.: $2.4M Est. Weekend B.O.: $7.09M Current Est. Rental: $3.5M Est. Budget: $30MOn the downside, this is not the $11M-$12M opening that the industry was predicting on this wide expansion (from 60 theaters to 2,493). In its release pattern, the first two frames of Steve Jobs closely comped to Sicario, but it’s not going to emulate the trajectory of the Lionsgate title. The upside is that Steve Jobs received an A- CinemaScore. Even better news for the awards P.R. gurus out there: Film Title: Steve JobsAudiences loved leading actors Michael Fassbender (25%) and Kate Winslet (19%) giving them As. 72% came out because they were interested in seeing a biopic about Steve Jobs. Among all the clunkers this weekend, Steve Jobs gets a pass. Here’s why: It’s an awards contender and the core adult base for this film comes out in dribs and drabs throughout the season. As the film gathers nominations, it will continually find an audience. Noms will also positively impact foreign ticket sales. As Steve Jobs loses screens in the coming weeks, the trick for Uni is to keep it afloat at enough premium venues so that it’s alive during the latter half of the year when Globe and SAG noms are announced. Again, it’s a tough time for adult pics on the marquee. We knew early on that Steve Jobs wasn’t The Social Network ($22.4M) in its mass appeal, that’s why Uni platformed it.

Rock the Kasbah (Open Road) Friday B.O.: $530K Est. Weekend B.O.: $1.55M Current Est. Rental: $775K: If anyone is feeling the box office blues worse than Jem, it’s Bill Murray and Open Road. Rock the Kasbah ranks as both Murray’s and Open Road’s lowest wide release opening of all-time.

Rock The KasbahIf you have an adult demo film opening in the fall and you don’t have stellar reviews, you’re as good as dead at the box office (I know, commenters, you can throw The Walk up in my face, but still…). Kasbah has a bloody 8% Rotten Tomatoes score with critics using the title in the same sentence as Ishtar. Distrib sources say that the film pulled in a heavy adult crowd at 54% over 50, and 84% over 35; a majority of whom came out specifically for Murray. It might have been better business wise to release Kasbah after Oscar season, when there’s more breathing room in the marketplace for adult fare. But with audiences giving Kasbah a B- CinemaScore, dating becomes an afterthought.

On the Today show, Murray said Kasbah may be his best film. He also took time out to make his first San Diego Comic-Con appearance back in July. Among his wide release debuts, Kasbah is lower than 1984’s Razor’s Edge ($2.4M) and even lower than 1976’s Where the Buffalo Roam ($1.75M at 454 theaters).

Open Road bought this Venture Forth and QED movie at Berlin 2014 before the cameras rolled. QED has been in freefall with a number of executives exiting or being laid off in the wake of Sabotage bombing. Hopefully, Open Road’s Nov. 6 release Spotlight, which has received rave reviews out of festivals and is getting awards season traction, can take them to that Nightcrawler ($32.4M) sphere at the B.O. this fall. 

Jem and the Holograms (Universal/Hasbro/Blumhouse) Friday B.O.: $459K  Est. Weekend B.O.: $1.26M, Current Est. Rental:$630K Est. cost: $5MGoosebumps producer Neal Moritz told Deadline that before Sony greenlit the film version of the R.L. Stine franchise, they conducted a brand study, which further underscored the book series’ popularity. In regards to Jem, the question Jem and the Hologramsbegged: Was there ever a brand study conducted by Hasbro for Jem? Were there 20 million fans waiting in the wings for a big screen version of a cult cartoon show? And not to beat the point, but did any Universal development executive sit down and have a pep talk with the filmmakers about not going forward with this movie? Remember 2001’s Josie and the Pussycats? That was another chick band TV cartoon to live feature that didn’t work for Uni. They spent $39M and the film made $14.9M worldwide. Much like Pan in its pre-release media backlash, Jem got thrown off the stage by the blogsphere back in May after the first trailer showed the film’s deviations from the cartoon. Fans expressed that they didn’t like director Jon Chu’s 21st century update. Despite the B+ CinemaScore, Jem alienated fans. Exhib sources at a few theaters reported low auditorium turnouts. Jem’s opening is so low, that its upbeat CinemaScore, fueled largely by 77% females won’t even take it to a final cume in the double digits. Uni shares the financial pain of this with Hasbro. Granted, not much was spent here, but it’s obvious that theatrical is a loss leader for the film, putting more weight on the VOD/DVD ancillary sector. Given Uni’s record-breaking year, they can certainly sustain this tap on the chin. For Blumhouse, having Jem and Ghost Dimension out in the same weekend isn’t good for headlines.

The top 10 films and notables per industry estimates for Oct. 23-25:

1). The Martian (FOX), 3,504 theaters (-197) / $4.3M Fri. (-31%)/ 3-day cume: $15.1M (-29%)/Total cume: $165.5M/ Wk 4

2). Goosebumps (SONY), 3,501 theaters (0)/ $3.8M Fri. (-48%)/ 3-day cume: $14.7M (-38%) /Total cume: $42.9M/Wk 2

3). Bridge of Spies (DIS), 2,811 theaters (0)/ $3.3M Fri. (-39%)/ 3-day cume: $11.3M (-26%)/Total cume: $32.5M/Wk 2

4). The Last Witch Hunter (LIONS), 3,082 theaters / $3.7M Fri.* / 3-day cume: $9.5M /Wk 1
*$525K

5). Hotel Transylvania 2 (SONY), 3,154 theaters (-379) / $2.18M Fri. (-35%)/ 3-day cume: $8.5M (-33%) / Total cume: $147.8M /Wk 5

6.) Steve Jobs (UNI), 2,493 theaters (+2,433)/ $2.4M Fri. (+355%) / 3-day cume: $7.09M (+373%)/ Total cume: $9.8M/Wk 3

7). Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (PAR), 1,656 theaters / $3.3M Fri. +/ 3-day cume: $6.9M /Wk 1
+includes previews $600K

8). Crimson Peak (UNI), 2,991 theaters (+7) / $1.78M Fri. (-66%)/ 3-day cume: $5.3M (-60%)/Total cume: $22.2M/Wk 2

9). The Intern (WB), 2,061 theaters (-646)/ $1.1M Fri. (-34%) / 3-day cume: $3.74M (-31%)/Total cume: $64.3M/Wk 5

10). Sicario (LIONS), 1,448 theaters (-682) / $809K Fri. (-39%) / 3-day cume: $2.77M (-39%)/Total cume:$39.2M /Wk 6

Notables:

Rock the Kasbah (OPEN), 2,012 theaters / $530K Fri./3-day cume: $1.55M/Wk 1

Jem and the Holograms (UNI), 2,413 theaters / $459K Fri./ 3-day cume: $1.26M /Wk 1 

Room (A24), 23 theaters (+19) / $75K Fri. (+85%) / 3-day: $234K (+98%)/Per screen: $10K /Total cume: $389K/Wk 2

Truth (SPC), 18 theaters (+12) / $30K Fri. (+74%) /3-day:$115K (+74%) Per screen: $6K/Total cume: $210K /Wk 2

Suffragette (Focus), 4 theaters / $23K Fri. /3-day cume:$74K Per screen: $18,5K/Wk 1

Beasts of No Nation (BLE/NETFLIX), 21 theaters (-10) / $4K Fri. (-79%) /3-day:$13K (-75%) Per screen: $605/Total cume: $83K /Wk 2

2ND UPDATE, Friday 1:15 PM: If Darwin were assessing the survival of the fittest at the box office this weekend, he’d hand it to the holdovers. 20th Century Fox’s The Martian, after hitting No. 1 essentially every day during the past week, is projected to bounce back this weekend to the No. 1 spot with an industry estimate of $13.5M-$14M in its fourth sesh with a potential cume by Sunday of $164.5M. Following close behind is Sony’s PG-rated Goosebumps which is going for a second FSS of $13M and a 10-day cume of $41.2M. All projections are based off of matinee estimates and as we know the chart could be completely different by tonight.

ghost dimenion 2Paramount/Blumhouse’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is the stronger of the new crop with an opening of $10M-$12M in third. While the title will segue to VOD once it drops below 300 runs in its release pattern, some rival distribs believe that Par could have made another $10M had it just simply gone wide for a total opening of $20M. We’ll see at the end of the pic’s long haul if this experimental distribution release pays off. Tracking was always decent for this horror perennial which typically plays at this time of year. Total awareness among men under 25 is at 78% while females are at 85%.

Disney/DreamWorks’ Bridge of Spies is projected to have a fantastic hold at -32% in its second weekend with $10.5M and a 10-day cume of $31.7M. Lionsgate’s Vin Diesel solo effort The Last Witch Hunter is currently at $10M for the weekend per industry calculations. The budget for this Lionsgate co-financed production was $75M-$80M. Foreign territories were sold off in advance to cover the budget with Lionsgate’s exposure at $10M, which went toward P&A.

Universal/Legendary’s third wide weekend of Steve Jobs is on track for $9M — not so hot considering its beefy limited performance over the last two weekends. Cume by Sunday will be at an estimated $11.7M.

Rock The KasbahThen there are those wide entries which are in desperate need of a fast VOD window, much like the one Paramount proposed to exhibitors: Uni/Blumhouse/Hasbro’s Jem and the Holograms and Open Road’s Rock the Kasbah. These frosh bottom dwellers are estimated to pull in respective opening hauls of $3.7M and $2M-$4M. Audiences completely ignored them last night during previews as detailed below.

1ST UPDATE, Friday 9:07AM: There’s been a long delay with sneak preview grosses this morning, and I’m told that some distribs were having server problems. However, the two Halloween-theme films reigned with Paramount’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension grossing $600K at 1,000 locations and Lionsgate’s Vin Diesel title The Last Witch Hunter grossing $525K . In fact, we’re hearing that it’s going to be a soft weekend overall for new entries with Witch Hunter and Ghost Dimension in a staring contest: each is expected to bring in $9M. Holdovers will prevail, led by Sony’s Goosebumps second frame which is projected at $15M in first place.

Universal/Legendary’s Steve Jobs started its third sesh wide expansion last night at 1,748 theaters making $294K.  It will play in 2,491 theaters starting today. In its second week, the Danny Boyle film made an estimated $2M for a running cume of $2.7M. Fandango currently shows Steve Jobs ticket pre-sales inching out Ghost Dimension. The Apple founder biopic is expected to ring up $11M-$12M $7M this weekend (revised AM projections today).

After Ghost Dimension, Witch Hunter and Steve Jobs, sneak receipts for this weekend’s frosh titles fell off a cliff as adult holdovers The Martian and Bridge of Spies, as well as family pic Goosebumps, stayed strong: Open Road reported that Bill Murray comedy Rock the Kasbah made $75K on 1,247 which is $60 a theater. The hope was that it would open to $6M this weekend, but it’s a fierce adult market out there, so it’s now more like $4M.

Jem & The HologramsThe lyrics to the jingle for the Jem and the Holograms toy commercial during the 1980s was “Jem is truly outrageous, truly truly outrageous.” Well, one thing was for sure last night during Thursday sneaks and that was Universal/Blumhouse’s Jem and the Holograms wasn’t even outrageous. In fact, it didn’t even flicker with a lousy $34K at 944 venues — which translates into $36 a theater! This is just a bad sign of what it is yet to come for the big screen version of this antiquated Hasbro toy line. Initial tracking suggested a $5M opening earlier this week, which is how much the film cost, however, it’s more like a gag-me-with-a-spoon $3M. Under 25ers are more dazzled by Vin Diesel and Ghost Dimension, not to mention the audience who grew up with the Jem dolls are now over 40! Why would they care? Hasbro covered some of the financing of this microbudget title.

ghost dimensionGhost Dimension’s sneak B.O. is 50% less than the $1.2M its predecessor Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones made in January 2014. Granted, that sequel played at 1,600 theaters during its Thursday sneak. Due to Ghost Dimension being shut out by major exhibitors re: Par’s early VOD plan, it’s now on a course to make half of Marked Ones’ $18.3M opening.

Last night, Ghost Dimension had a bit of a profile here in Hollywood as it closed out the Screamfest horror film festival at the TCL Chinese Theater. Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum accepted the Future Icon Award on behalf of Blumhouse during the fest’s opening night on Tuesday, October 13 while the franchise’s producer and first installment director Oren Peli was lauded last night with the Trailblazer Award.

The-MartianExcept for Wednesday night when “Back to the Future Day” made $1.65M, 20th Century Fox’s The Martian was No. 1 on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. In its third week, the Matt Damon astronaut movie made an estimated $28.17M and a running cume of $150.5M. Sony’s Goosebumps topped the week with $28.2M. Disney/DreamWorks’ Bridge of Spies made $21.2M in third spot for the week while Legendary’s Crimson Peak from Universal generated a weekly cume of $16.9M.