3RD UPDATE, Saturday 2:27AM: The Columbus Day holiday weekend is providing a cash kick to studios’ bank accounts thanks to 14% K-12 schools off on Friday and 40% off on Monday. Twentieth Century Fox’s The Martian continues its roll along the fertile terrain with an estimated $10.85M Friday night (besting its $9M-$10M matinee projections) and a $36.4M second weekend (vs. its earlier $32M-$34M estimate). Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 2 is looking at a strong third weekend hold of -21% with $21M and a total cume by Sunday of $117.5M, while Warner Bros.’ Pan needs every single child out of school and in theaters so that it can make up some ground on its $150M estimated budget. Friday’s B.O. was only $5.2M, with an estimated second place debut of $18.25M…not so good. If Pan had cost $15M, we’d be screaming that it was the cash cow of all ages. That’s not the case with its budget right up there on the screen with full-on VFX and zero sets.
Hook and Peter Pan, previous feature adaptations of J.M. Barrie’s novel, received A-s, but this Joe Wright origins-take on the material from Jason Fuchs’ 2013 Black List script pulled in a B+ CinemaScore. PostTrak shows that 78% of the audience said Pan was excellent or very good. It would be nice if these were promising signs for Pan in the long run; instead, it carries a 22% Rotten Tomatoes score. If reviews had been better for Pan, that might have helped drive business, given Wright’s Oscar-ish resume at the arthouse. Rentrak’s PostTrak reports that largely older females are turning up for the film respectively at 57% and 58% over 25. However, this appears to be the Hugh Jackman fan club outnumbering moms at the cinema, since only 3% of the audience was under 12.
Warner Bros. has turned its marketing machine on full blast for Pan from set pieces and stunts around the globe to Rooney Mara (Tiger Lily) and Levi Miller working down to the wire with appearances on the Today show Friday morning. However, the press has been shooting flaming arrows at Pan for quite some time. They completely lost it when Mara beat out Lupita Nyong’o and Adèle Exarchopoulos for the role of Tiger Lily, whom Barrie conceived as Native American. Petitions swarmed the Warner lot calling for the studio to stop casting white actors in non-white roles. (Wright defended the casting decision, claiming that Barrie never identified Tiger Lily’s nationality in the source material and that it was more appropriate to portray Neverland’s denizens in the film as a group of multi-cultural indigenous folks.)
Warner Bros. tried to dazzle the press during the summer by showing 20 minutes of Pan footage to U.S and foreign reporters. But the plan seriously backfired, with the U.K. Guardian crying “bombastic nuttiness…One particular scene in which the newly-arrived Lost Boys are serenaded by the villainous Blackbeard to a chorus of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ came so far out of the leftfield that it’s hard to gauge in isolation whether the moment is a curveball of anarchic genius or a pop culture horrorshow.” They also equated Jackman’s “receding hair bewigged” Blackbeard with Helena Bonham Carter’s Queen in Alice in Wonderland.
Meanwhile, Sony TriStar’s World Trade Center visual feast, The Walk, looks to be beating the studio’s $5M weekend expectations with $6.4M and a cume by the end of its second sesh of $9.1M. Per PostTrak, The Walk drew mostly males (52%), over 25 (72%). Many industry sources have slapped Sony for launching The Walk as a limited Imax/PLF release, thwarting its chances at bigger receipts. Sony clearly sent the message last weekend that Imax and PLF is the only way to see this movie, and now the studio is paying for it at the B.O. Hopefully this will not impact the film’s chances heading into awards season. Like Birdman, The Walk needs to remain hovering around for some time to stay in the conversation, and the problem is that it will eventually lose all its Imax and PLF hubs to Spectre, Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, etc. The Walk has an 86% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score and 72% of its audience told PostTrak that the film was excellent or good. Sony and director Robert Zemeckis deserve praise for delivering such a sublime portrayal of the World Trade Centers in their infancy at a reasonable estimated budget ($35M) versus Warner Bros.’ runaway extravagance Pan.
Universal/Legendary’s Steve Jobs biopic, directed by Danny Boyle and scripted by Aaron Sorkin, is poised to log the best theater average so far this year with $140K, far outstripping Sicario‘s $67K. Steve Jobs’ OS at the box office is humming along thanks to 89% Rotten Tomatoes score.
1). The Martian (FOX), 3,854 theaters (+23) / $10.85M Fri. (-41%) / 3-day cume: $36.4M (-33%)/ Total cume: $108M /Wk 2
2). Hotel Transylvania 2 (SONY), 3,768 theaters (+14) / $5.2M Fri. (-31%)/ 3-day cume: $21M (-37%) / Total cume: $117.5M /Wk 3
3). Pan (WB), 3,515 theaters / $5.2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $18.25M /Wk 1
4). The Intern (WB), 3,224 theaters (-96)/ $2.55M Fri. (-29%) / 3-day cume: $8.6M (-27%)/Total cume: $49M/Wk 3
5). Sicario (LGF), 2,620 theaters (0) / $2.2M Fri. (-48%)/3-day cume: $6.9M (-43%) /Total cume: $26M /Wk 4
6). The Walk (SONY), 2,509 theaters (+2,061)/ $3.65M Fri. (+835%)/ 3-day cume: $6.4M (+310%)/ Total cume: $9.1M /Wk 2
7). Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (FOX), theaters ()/ $1.45M Fri. (-32%) / 3-day cume: $5.2M (-33%)/ Total cume: $70M/Wk 4
8). Black Mass (WB), theaters ()/ $950K Fri. (-48%)/ 3-day cume: $3.25M (-44%)/Total cume: $57.5M /Wk 4
9). Everest (UNI), 2,120 theaters (-889) / $938K Fri. (-42%) / 3-day cume: $3.15M (-44%) /Total cume: $38M/Wk 4
10.) The Visit (UNI) 1,759 theaters (-537)/$775K Fri (-335)/3-day cume: $2.6M (-34%)/Total cume: $61.2M/Wk 5
Steve Jobs (UNI) 4 theaters/$185K Fri/3-day cume: $561K/PTA: $140K/Wk 1
2ND UPDATE, Friday 1:50 PM: Early Friday matinees show what we’ve been expecting all along: 20th Century Fox’s The Martian is scheduled to land at No. 1 again this weekend with a second frame take of $32M-$34M at 3,854 theaters, still loaded with PLF and 3D; rocket fuel that makes the Ridley Scott film go zoom. Friday alone is looking like an estimated $9M-10M. Martian will settle down by EOD on Sunday between $103.7M-$105.7M.
Warner Bros.’ expensive Pan is looking at $6M-$7M today at 3,515 venues, that includes the $650K the Joe Wright film made last night. In sum, an opening weekend that is currently at $18M-$22M putting it in third. Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 2 is still doing the monster mash with a projected $6.3M on Friday and a near $29M eye boggling third weekend, just 13% off from last weekend. It becomes the first $100M grosser of autumn tonight, followed by Martian later this weekend.
In regards to why Pan isn’t taking off, one rival studio executive didn’t attribute it to the film’s lofty $150M budget: “Audiences aren’t really in tune to budgets unless it’s a big VFX extravaganza. It’s just that moviegoers aren’t screaming out for another Peter Pan movie.” Peter Pan movies have a tortured history. Through Steven Spielberg’s 1991 twist on the J.M. Barrie tale grossed $120M, it was off a $70M extravagant budget in its day. Then there was the 2003 Universal-Revolution Studios $100M version, Peter Pan, which nobody cared about and was also overbudget, with a $48.5M domestic B.O. So the tea leaves were there and are still there: Stop making Peter Pan movies. Critics’ responded to Pan like they lost their hands to a crocodile: with a 23% Rotten Tomatoes score. Warners saw this hurricane brewing stateside for Pan and pushed the film aggressively abroad to make up lost ground with event-filled stunts in various foreign cities and a globe-trotting Hugh Jackman.
Despite pricey Pan, Warner Bros. can take a sigh of relief knowing that they hired Nancy Meyers’ The Intern which is looking at fourth place with $7.9M, off just 32% in its third weekend for a total cume of $48.8M. Friday is estimated at $2.4M. Lionsgate’s Sicario is looking at a similar fourth Friday with an estimated weekend take of $7.6M, down 37% for a running cume by end of Sunday at $27M.
Outside the top five, Sony TriStar’s The Walk at 2,509 venues is teetering a Friday that’s between $1M-$2M putting it in line to make $6M-$7M in its second frame, +285% -349%. Total cume by Sunday will be $9M-$10M.
Meanwhile, Universal is having a better time launching Steve Jobs at four New York and Los Angeles venues than Apple Computer did in launching the Mac (I know, it’s an…apples and oranges…comparison). Distrib sources were wagging their fingers earlier this week saying that Uni needed $75K per theater in order to trumpet the Danny Boyle biopic as a success. At this point in time, Steve Jobs is set to program $133K per theater for a $175K Friday and a $531K opening weekend. Different movie for a different crowd, but if you remember, American Sniper made $633K at four NY and LA theaters during its first FSS post Christmas.