Star Titles ‘Our Brand Is Crisis,’ ‘Burnt’ Fall As ‘Martian’ Dominates Lowest Grossing Weekend Of 2015 – Sunday Postmortem

4TH UPDATE, Sunday, 7:16AM FINAL: What’s worse than a weekend filled with a South African violent robot (Chappie) and a Zac Efron DJ film (We’re Not Your Friends)? How about a Halloween weekend with two star-driven bombs — Bradley Cooper’s Burnt and Sandra Bullock’s Our Brand Is Crisis — topped off by a teenage horror film, Scouts’ Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse at $1.8M that barred its core demo from even entering the auditorium with its R rating?

Rentrak reports that the 2015 Halloween weekend was the lowest grossing frame to date of 2015 with $73M, down 31% and off another 23% from a year ago. This weekend was lower than the pre-Labor Day frame of Aug. 28-30 which made $87.8M and saw the release of the Efron bomb and lower than the March 6-8 weekend of $89.4M when Chappie blew a fuse stateside with a $13.3M weekend.

In a fall where some of the most critically acclaimed adult titles such as The Walk and Steve Jobs were mowed down, Warner Bros.’  Our Brand Is Crisis stained Bullock’s resume as the actress’ lowest wide opening of all time with $3.43M in 7th place, logging under her 1996 romantic comedy Two if By Sea which debuted to $4.7M and capsized at $10.7M stateside. Weinstein Co.’s wide release of Cooper’s bad boy chef film Burnt didn’t do that much better with $5M in 5th at 3,003 screens, delivering the second pan to the actor’s head after summer audiences failed to lei with Sony’s Aloha ($9.7M opening, $21M domestic). Like last weekend with Steve Jobs, one can argue it’s another case of specialty titles lost in the studio system, but this is what happens when stars and filmmakers stretch with passion projects. And if studios fail to back them, the industry will never realize the upside of a creative gamble. Most stars’ filmographies include vanity projects that failed, like Tom Hanks with his directorial debut That Thing You Do! ($25.9m). George Clooney has a few: Solaris ($15M) and Ides of March ($40M). The list goes on. The trick is not having a slew of bombs in a row so that the phone stops ringing.

“The weekend results for Our Brand Is Crisis are upsetting,” Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing and distribution, told Deadline on Saturday morning. “The film was truly a collaboration between the studio and the filmmakers, and Sandy’s performance is terrific in this film. We cherish our relationship with her. Ultimately, our campaign didn’t connect with moviegoers.” Another Warner Bros. insider confessed, “The concept of a true story based on a Bolivian presidential race doesn’t resonate here.” Warner Bros. co-financed the $28M-$30M film with Ratpac and Participant. We detailed yesterday what the hell happened with both Our Brand and Burnt this weekend.

Erik Lomis, TWC distribution chief spoke about Burnt‘s underperformance. “While we were below what we were hoping for, the budget on the film is south of $20M and offset substantially by foreign sales. We won’t lose anything but we’re obviously disappointed. The film has a strong international cast and hopefully it will do better overseas as Europe starts next week. Bradley Cooper delivers an awards worthy performance in this film with a strong supporting cast: Daniel Bruhl, Sienna Miller and Emma Thompson. We wanted more here, but we tried.”

Keep in mind, the reviews were awful for both Burnt and Our Brand, which warned its core adult demo to stay away. But even A- CinemaScore titles like Steve Jobs were all thumbs this weekend. The Danny Boyle film posted a second wide weekend decline that’s on par with a horror title: -64% making $2.58M in its fourth weekend in 10th place for a running cume of $14.5M.  

20th Century Fox’s The Martian, continued to stay alive, riding a heat wave off its A CinemaScore and a 93% Rotten Tomatoes rating. The Matt Damon Mars movie took No. 1 for the fourth time in its fifth frame with $11.4M at 3,218 venues.  For director Ridley Scott, the pic is less than $5M shy of becoming the top grossing film of his career, toppling 2000’s Gladiator ($187.7M)Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson beamed, “The Martian stands out this fall as the one film that is for everyone. It’s a crowd-pleasing, satisfying, uplifting, exciting piece of entertainment. It represents the best of what movies are all about.”

Despite the lackluster weekend and the tears distribution chiefs shed in advance about Halloween falling on a Saturday, business was up for a number of films yesterday in the top 10. The Martian in particular saw a 32% spike over Friday, while Disney/DreamWorks’ Bridge of Spies registered a 45% gain. Also, we can’t count out Goosebumpswhich many predicted would get shortchanged by the holiday. The Sony/Village Roadshow/LStar Capital film stayed alive with families, making $10.2M in its third weekend, down only 34%.

Halloween weekend, especially when it falls on a Saturday, hasn’t always been a black hole. History has shown that if a studio has the goods, they can actually open a film (read Sony’s 2009 Michael Jackson femme fan crowd pleaser This Is It which posted a fantastic $23.3M FSS and a $34.4M five-day gross). Halloween weekend is – duh – prime for spooky titles. In 1998 when Halloween fell on a Saturday, Warner Bros. opened the Joel Silver horror production House on a Haunted Hill to $15.9M.

So why didn’t Scouts work for Paramount? 1998 teens and young males didn’t have digital distractions like today’s set. It’s a demo that Paramount is hellbent on cracking and winning over. Outside of superhero and mega tentpole films, it’s a bitch to call this bunch out for smaller films. Scout‘s R-rating also poured water on any fire this pic hoped to set. Said one Paramount exec this morning, “This film appeals to a narrow demo and our tracking was good among teenagers. That was frankly the debate when making the movie: We’re making a movie that appeals to teens, that they can’t go see.” Supporting the argument that a PG-13 rating could have worked here: Paramount reports that three out of the seven provinces in Canada had a U-14 rating on the title, where it performed rather well.

Of course because of the studio’s flexible VOD window, Scouts, like Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, suffered from its under-booking by major circuits, in only 1,509 theaters. In regards to cannibalizing the horror audience by releasing Scouts on the heels of Ghost Dimension, which did rank in the top 10 at No. 7 in its second sesh with $3.45M, Paramount considers Scouts a gross-out comedy, much like Jackass. In previous autumns, the studio has released Jackass and Paranormal Activity sequels side-by-side. Paramount remains bullish about their VOD segue for this title. While teens didn’t come out, it’s the ultimate ‘sleepover’ movie for them and the hope is that they’ll purchase it in a few weeks on VOD. The studio, on their end, noticed a high amount of digital activity with a viral video prank they did at strip clubs around the country. Guys would enter a strip club thinking they’re getting a lap dance from a hot babe, only to get rubbed down by a zombie. Paramount reports that the video has pulled in 14M views across all platforms. However, RelishMix observed heading into the weekend that social activity was very light on Scouts with Twitter hashtags at less than 900K. Aside from the :15 second TV spot at 5.4M views on YouTube, Relish noticed that most video clips on YouTube have below 650k views. DJ Dillon Francis who appears in Scouts was one of the film’s biggest social stars with 2.6M across all platforms. Relish saw that he was mentioned in the Paramount Facebook post on October 7 as part of the film’s ultimate AMC Theatre fan experience in New York, where he hosted the afterparty, but the post received very low engagement.

The top films for the weekend of Oct. 30-Nov. 1 per studio reported figures as compiled by Amanda N’Duka:

1). The Martian (FOX), 3,218 theaters (-286) / $3.5M Fri. / $4.6M Sat. (+32%) / $3.2M Sun (-28%) /3-day cume: $11.4M (-27%)/ Total cume: $182.8M / Wk 5

2). Goosebumps (SONY), 3,618 theaters (+117) / $3.1M Fri. / $3.3M Sat. (+6%) / $3.8M Sun (+15%) / 3-day cume: $10.2M (-34%)/Total cume: $57.1M /Wk 3

3). Bridge Of Spies (DIS), 2,873 theaters (+62) / $2.5M Fri. / $3.6M Sat. (+45%) / $2M Sun (-44%) /3-day cume: $8.1M (-29%)/Total cume: $45.2M /Wk 3

4). Hotel Transylvania 2 (SONY), 2,962 theaters (-192) / $1.8M Fri. / $1.9M Sat. (+6%) / $2.2M Sun (+16%) 3-day cume: $5.8M (-34%) / Total cume: $156M /Wk 6

5). Burnt (TWC), 3,003 theaters / $1.8M Fri. /  $1.7M Sat. (-5%) / $1.5M Sun (-15%) 3-day cume: $5M /Wk 1

6). The Last Witch Hunter (LGF), 3,082 theaters (0) / $1.5M Fri. / $2M Sat. (+37%) / $1.3M Sun (-38%) / 3-day cume: $4.75M(-56%) /Total cume: 18.6M /Wk 2

7). Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (PAR), 1,530 theaters (-126) / $1.2M Fri. / $1.5M Sat. (+25%) / $750K Sun (-50%) /3-day cume: $3.45M (-57%)/ Total cume: $13.57M / Wk 2

8). Our Brand Is Crisis (WB), 2,202 theaters / $1.1M Fri. /$1.3M Sat. (+13%) / $1.1M Sun (-15%) 3-day cume: $3.4M /Wk 1

9). Crimson Peak (UNI), 2,112 theaters (-879)/ $961K Fri. / $1.4M Sat. (+44%) / $761K Sun (-45%)  / 3-day cume: $3.1M (-45%) / Total cume: 27.7M /Wk 3

10). Steve Jobs (UNI), 2,493 theaters (0)/ $848K Fri. / $1M Sat. (+21%) / $710K Sun (-31%) / 3-day cume: $2.6M (-64%)/ Total cume: $14.5M/Wk 4


The Intern (WB), 1,521 theaters (-540)/ $735K Fri. /$1M Sat. (+36%) / $650K Sun (-35%) / 3-day cume: $2.4M (-37%)/Total cume: $68.5M/ Wk 6

Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse (PAR), 1,509 theaters / $708K Fri. /$663K Sat. (-6%) / $400K Sun (-40%) /3-day cume: $1.8M /Wk 1

Woodlawn (PURE), 1,255 theaters (-220) / $535K Fri./ $635K Sat (+19%) / $515K Sun. (-19%) /3-day cume: $1.7M(-35%) /Total cume: $10.7M /Wk 3

Truth (SPC), 18 theaters (+12)/ $257K Fri. / $384K Sat (+49%) / $260K Sun. (-32%) /3-day cume: $901K (+729%)/Total cume: $1.15M / Wk 3

Rock The Kasbah (OPEN), 2,012 theaters (0)/ $109K Fri. / $136K Sat. (+25%) / $109K Sun (-20%) / 3-day cume: $353K (-76%) /Total cume: $2.4M /Wk 2

Jem And The Holograms (UNI), 2,417 theaters (+4)/ $121K Fri. /$97K Sat. (-20%) / 72K Sun (-26%) / 3-day cume: $290K (-79%) / Total cume: $1.9M /Wk 2

The Witness (CHINA), 40 theaters / $68K Fri. /$79K Sat. (+16%) / $51K Sun (-35%) / 3-day cume: $198K /Wk 1

Felix Manalo (VIVF), 100 theaters / $53K Fri. /$79K Sat. (+51%) / $63K Sun (-20%) / 3-day cume: $195K /Wk 1

 Suffragette (FOC), 23 theaters (+19)/ $53K Fri.  / $60K Sat. (+13%) / $42K Sun (-30%) /3-day cume: $155K (+103%) /Total cume: $258K /Wk 2

Carter High The Movie (IND), 20 theaters / $28K Fri. / $32K Sat. (+16%) / $24K Sun (-25%) / 3-day cume: $84K /Wk 1

Freaks Of Nature (SONY), 107 theaters / $15K Fri. /$15K Sat. (-2%) / $14K Sun (-10%) / 3-day cume: $44K /Wk

Love (ALCH), 2 theaters / $16K Fri. /$7K Sat. (-53%) / $7K Sun (-10%) / 3-day cume: $30K /Wk 1

Dancin’ It’s On (HNN), 200 theaters / $9K Fri. /$9K Sat. (+7%) / $9K Sun (0%) / 3-day cume:$27K /Wk 1

Heneral Luna (ABR), 3 theaters / $6K Fri. /$4K Sat. (-29%) / $3K Sun (-30%) / 3-day cume:$13K /Wk 1

3rd UPDATE, Friday, 11:30 PM: It’s a bag of rocks this Halloween holiday for newcomers with Warner Bros., The Weinstein Company and Paramount Pictures’ films all failing to open in what is truly a ghoulish weekend for the distributors. Fox’s The Martian is coming back to roost in the No. 1 spot, unusual for a picture to fall out of the Top spot and then return … but then again, look at the competition. Warner Bros. is in need of its own crisis manager with its political comedy Our Brand Is Crisis chalking up another miss for the studio after box office blunders Pan, the remake of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Zac Efron’s We Are Your Friends.

The Sandra Bullock-Billy Bob Thornton-starring Crisis looks like it will come in around $3M to $3.5M for the three-day and won’t get anywhere near the Top Five after scoring a dismal C+ Cinemascore with its core audience. That marks Bullock’s lowest career opener. Her previous came in 1996 with Two if By Sea which had a $4.65M opening, also via Warner Bros. The audience make-up of this one is 56% female and 44% male with 76% coming to the film because of Bullock.

Despite changing its release date a few times (and the film title at least once), the Bradley Cooper chef dramedy Burnt is … well, toast. It only got a B- CinemaScore and is struggling in late shows, perhaps due to tepid reviews and/or the World Series. But the audience breakdown is 66% females and 34% males with 63% of the audience coming in to see Cooper. It is likely to fall short of $2M today (Friday).

Traditionally, when Halloween falls on a Saturday — the last time it happened was six years ago — the kids and teen targeted films get annihilated, but not so much with adult fare. With that in mind, Sony’s Goosebumps could have a rougher Saturday while Crisis and Burnt could fare a little better but don’t expect miracles. Burnt is currently tracking around $5M to $5.5M for the three-day.

Paramount’s R-rated Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse, the second in a row window buster, isn’t expected even to break the Top Ten for the three-day. This was the planned second release in the studio’s theatrical-VOD experiment; the first was last weekend’s Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension. The studio hoped for $2M to $4M but the Zombie’s are limping in at around $1.5M to $1.8M. It only got a B- CinemaScore and 72% of its slightly skewed male audience came to because they love the subject matter — Zombies.

In its second weekend of play, Ghost Dimension, is down the predictable 63% for horror fare but so is The Last Witch Hunter, which scored one of the lowest openings for Vin Diesel in the actor’s career last weekend. Also in its sophomore frame is another of last weekend’s DOAs — Jem and the Holograms — down 73%, but it held better than Rock the Kasbah which kept all of its theaters but may drop 80% this weekend. Bill Murray is in it, what’s not to like?

A big thanks to Amanda N’Duka tonight in compiling the chart. Here’s what the three-day grosses look like tonight. Positions and grosses may change in the AM.

Anita Busch compiled the Friday night report.

1). The Martian (FOX), 3,218 theaters (-286) / $3.2M to $3.4M Fri. / 3-day cume: $10.6M to $10.8M / Total cume: $182.3M / Wk 5

2). Goosebumps (SONY), 3,618 theaters (+117) / $2.9M Fri. / 3-day cume: $8.7M to $8.9M / Total cume: $55.5M / Wk 3

3). Bridge Of Spies (DIS), 2,873 theaters (+62) / $2.4M Fri. / 3-day cume: $7.6M / Total cume: $44.8M / Wk 3

4/5). Burnt (TWC), 3,003 theaters / $1.8M to $2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $5M to $5.2M / Wk 1

Hotel Transylvania 2 (SONY), 2,962 theaters (-192) / $1.7M Fri. / 3-day cume: $5.2M / Total cume: $155.4M / Wk 6

6). The Last Witch Hunter (LGF), 3,082 theaters (0) / $1.4M to $1.6M Fri. / 3-day cume: $3.6M to $4M (-62%) / Total cume: 18M+ /Wk 2

7). Our Brand Is Crisis (WB), 2,202 theaters / $1M to $1.2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $3M to $3.3M / Wk 1

8/9). Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (PAR), 1,530 theaters (-126) / $1.15M Fri. / 3-day cume: $3M (-63%) / Wk 2

9). Crimson Peak (UNI), 2,112 theaters (-879) / $1.15M Fri.  / 3-day cume: $2.6M to $3M / Total cume: 27.1M / Wk 3

10). Steve Jobs (UNI), 2,493 theaters (0) / $884K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.6M / Total cume: $14.6M / Wk 4

11). The Intern (WB), 1,521 theaters (-540) / $735K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.2M (-41%)/ Total cume: $68.4M / Wk 6

12). Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse (PAR), 1,509 theaters / $635M to $750K Fri. / 3-day cume: $1.5M to $1.7M / Wk 1

18). Jem And The Holograms (UNI), 2,417 theaters (+4) / $161K Fri. / 3-day cume: $370K (-73%) / Total cume: $2M / Wk 2

20). Rock The Kasbah (OPEN), 2,012 theaters (0) / $107K Fri. / 3-day cume: $290K (-80%) / Total cume: $2.3M / Wk 2

Felix Manalo (VIVF), 100 theaters / $80K Fri. / 3-day cume: $238K / Wk 1

Suffragette (FOC), 23 theaters (+19)/ $49K Fri. / 3-day cume: $152K (+99%) / Total cume: $255K / Wk 2

Carter High The Movie (IND), 25 theaters / $32K Fri. / 3-day cume: $88K / Wk 1

Dancin’ It’s On (HNN), 200 theaters / $10K Fri. / 3-day cume: $29K / Wk 1

Love (ALCH), 2 theaters / $9K Fri. / 3-day cume: $25K / Wk 1

Freaks Of Nature (SONY), 107 theaters / $10K Fri. / 3-day cume: $24K / Wk 1

2ND UPDATE, 12:30PM: It’s another bad weekend for adult wide entries with Sandra Bullock on track to hit her lowest wide opening ever with Warner Bros.’ Our Brand Is Crisis at an industry estimated $3.5M and Bradley Cooper not faring that much better with Weinstein Co.’s Burnt which is currently showing $6M-$6.5M. Should those figures hold up for Our Brand Is Crisis, which carries a $28M-$30M budget (with 50% financing coming from Rat Pac and Participant), it will fall below the actress’ lowest wide opening of all-time 1996’s Two if By Sea ($4.65M opening), OUR BRAND IS CRISISalso from Warner Bros.  Burnt carries an estimated production budget of less than $20M, and foreign was pre-sold off to cover the cost. These projections are being made off of matinees, so business could conceivably creep up at dusk with business improving for Burnt. An R-rated political comedy and a chef dramedy aren’t the type of films a crowd just drops their Friday afternoon activities for. Both titles carry Rotten Tomato scores in the low 30% rotten range. The headliners of All About Steve  –another blister that critics popped and audiences left–  are probably wishing that they at least co-starred again together this weekend since that film posted a better opening of $11M.

Yes, it’s Halloween weekend, so that’s tricking the turnstiles, but these films’ projected underperformance speaks to the larger issue of award contending/adult demo fare at the autumn box office, and how hard it has been for a slew of them to break through. That is except for 20th Century Fox’s The Martian which is still expected to rule first place with an estimated fifth weekend of $10M and a cume by Sunday of $180.2M. Many distrib executives thought family moviegoers would also abandon Goosebumps in its third frame (Fandango did not, they showed advance ticket sales as the second highest behind Martian) given the holiday, however, it’s currently showing a second place take of $9M, down 42% for a cume through its third weekend by Sunday of $55.9M. Paramount’s Scouts’ Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t setting any fires except to itself with a very low $2.3M debut currently. The R-rated horror comedy carries a budget in the mid teens.

1st UPDATE, 8:54AM: After 3-day ticket sales fell 14% from the prior frame to $105M last weekend, don’t expect any improvements at the box office, especially with Halloween on Saturday.

BURNTSince 2008 whenever Halloween fell on a weekend, FSS ticket sales have clocked below $100M, within the $88M-$95M range according to Rentrak Theatrical. The last time Halloween fell on a Saturday was 2009 and business came in at $90.9M, down 28% from the prior weekend.

Trying to get a leg up before the doldrums set in is Weinstein Co.’s Bradley Cooper chef dramedy Burnt which is geared toward older females. It made $250K last night while Paramount’s under 25 R-rated horror comedy Scouts’ Guide To the Zombie Apocalypse made $140K at 690 theaters. Burnt is expected to bring in $7M-$9M this weekend, while Scouts is projected with a FSS of $2M-$4M.

scouts guideParamount was hoping to get a good share of Thursday night business ahead of Halloween for Scouts, but that didn’t happen. The film is in the same sling that Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension was in last weekend: Because of the film’s flexible VOD window, most major chains, outside of AMC and National Amusements, aren’t playing the film. On Wednesday night, AMC hosted The Scouts’ Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse Ultimate Fan Experience in 31 cities which featured never-before-seen clips and a video contest. For those attending the New York screening, fans were invited to an off-site party with DJ Dillon Francis, who stars in the movie.

Given the onslaught of five wide releases last weekend, TWC opted to take Burnt out today since there’s less competition. Warner Bros. Sandra Bullock political dramedy Our Brand Is Crisis did not hold previews last night. It is projected to make $5M-$7M this weekend.

That said, adult holdover title The Martian is expected to plant its fourth flag in the No. 1 spot this weekend with $10M-$11M in its fifth sesh, raising its cume to $181M-plus. Further underscoring this is Fandango’s report that The Martian is the top advance ticket seller right now.

More updates as they come in today.

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