The Martian Conquers Halloween Box Office Weekend

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Well, after promising that the Weekend Box Office report was back for good, I missed it last week. Don’t expect that to become a natural occurrence, though, and I am back this week for what amounted to the worst box office weekend of the year. Despite newcomers like romantic cooking movie Burnt and the political satire Our Brand is Crisis, the winner of the weekend was The Martian.

The Martian Reigns Supreme … Again

Think about this. The Martian came out on October 2. To understand the significance of that, Monday is November 2, which means that one full month after the release of the sci-fi movie, The Martian is still doing better than anything that came out since then. The Martian opened up with a $54.3 million take on its opening weekend and only fell to second place in its third weekend thanks to Goosebumps. It returned to number one last weekend, despite new movies like The Last Witch Hunter and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.

What is most interesting is that everything in October flopped, outside of Goosebumps and the Steven Spielberg movie Bridge of Spies. During The Martian’s second weekend, Joe Wright’s Pan opened in third place with $15.3 million, the next week saw the amazing Crimson Peak fail to find an audience with a fourth place, $13.1 million opening. Last weekend saw Last Witch Hunter open with $10.8 million in fourth, the Paranormal Activity sequel open with $8.0 million in sixth place, and both Rock and Kasbah and Jem and the Holograms fail to make the top 10.

This weekend, it was Burnt that flopped, with a $5.0 million fifth place opening, followed by Our Brand is Crisis at eight place with $3..4 million, and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse failing to capture the Halloween crowd, with a 12th place, $1.7 million finish. Meanwhile, only two movies broke $10 million over Halloween, with The Martian bringing in an additional $11.4 million ($182.8 million total) and Goosebumps making another $10.2 million ($57.1 million total).

Meanwhile, Bridge of Spies continues to hold steady, sitting at third with an additional $8.06 million for a total of $45.2 million total. Hotel Transylvania 2 took advantage of the kid’s Halloween movie needs, with a fourth place finish in its sixth week in theaters to bring its total up to $156.0 million. Crimson Peak brought in another $3.1 million to remain in the top 10 at ninth and Steve Jobs continued to struggle, with a $2.5 million take and a 10th place finish for $14.5 million overall.

The Martian has just dominated, and is sitting at a nice $428.4 million worldwide. The Martian will surpass Gladiator next week to become director Ridley Scott’s highest grossing movie domestically and only needs another $30 million to pass it worldwide. This isn’t based on inflation, but it is still impressive considering only Hannibal, Alien and Gladiator sit above it based on inflation.

As for the hopes that international takes would save Crimson Peak, it hasn’t happened. The $27.7 million domestic take is only accompanied by a $34.2 million international take for a total of $61.9 million. With an estimated production budget of $55 million, it will be hard for the movie to make back its money when advertising and promotion costs are added in. The movie will be Del Toro’s lowest domestic movie released wide in the United States outside of Slice. Del Toro’s only hope is that it makes some nice money in South Korea and Japan, the only other two major territories waiting for its release.

History

The movie that dominated the box office in 2014 was Ouija, with $10.7 million. The idea that a movie as poor as Ouija outperformed something beautiful and haunting by Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak is disturbing. Second place last year was the amazing Nightcrawler, which opened with $10.4 million. While the top two movies this year and the top two last year were almost identical in box office takes, the rest of the top 10 was way below last year’s box office take.

Way back in 1982, the number one movie in the nation was the very first Rambo movie First Blood. That movie won the box office with a weekend gross of $4.5 million in its second weekend. That was also the year that horror fans were pissed off with the release of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which was the only Halloween movie without Michael Myers in it.

Jumping back 25 years ago, it was the Stephen King adaptation Graveyard Shift that won the box office with a take of $5.8 million in its opening weekend. Second place was another new movie in Sibling Rivalry, which is a movie I don’t remember at all, but apparently starred Kirstie Alley, Bill Pullman and Carrie Fisher.

15 years ago saw Meet the Parents hold onto the opening spot with a $15.0 million take in its fourth weekend. Opening that weekend was the disastrously bad Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which suckered fans into paying $13.2 million to see in its opening weekend. Also opening were The Little Vampire (starring the kid from Jerry Maguire) and Lucky Numbers (John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow).

Five years ago, it was Saw 3D that won the box office, with a very impressive $22.5 million take. It’s interesting to see how that Saw installment beat out the second Paranormal Activity movie, a franchise that is still plugging along today, to much decreased box office takes.

Weekend Box Office

Position Title Weekend Total
1 The Martian (1) $11.4M $182.8M
2 Goosebumps (2) $10.2 $57.1
3 Bridge of Spies (3) $8.0 $45.2
4 Hotel Transylvania 2 (5) $5.8 $156.0
5 Burnt $5.0 $5.0
6 The Last Witch Hunter (4) $4.7 $18.6
7 Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension $3.4 $13.5
8 Our Brand is Crisis $3.4 $3.4
9 Crimson Peak (8) $3.1 $27.7
10 Steve Jobs (7) $2.5 $14.5

Weekend box office estimates courtesy of Box Office Mojo

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
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