‘Last Witch Hunter’ leads a slew of box-office flops

I took a week-long break to recharge my batteries and now I am back scouting for all that is interesting in the world of Hollywood. The performance of the new releases over the weekend was the place where I started, and now I wish I had chosen something else. The weekend was as terrible as it can get for new releases, despite there being as many as five wide releases. None of them even finished in the top 3 slots, and their combined weekend earnings did not even total upto $30 million in North America. That’s awful! The Vin Diesel starrer The Last Witch Hunter had the highest earnings of the lot with $10.8 million, but it would probably be the biggest failure considering its production budget of $70 million. That kind of money was a bit of a gamble since Vin Diesel has hardly been a box-office attraction outside the Fast & Furious franchise. The Last Witch Hunter has earned $24 million worldwide, and with its weak reviews, I do not think it would manage anything noteworthy internationally to salvage the production & marketing budget. The losses here could really pile up, and there’s nothing Diesel can do about it now!

Earnings_The Last Witch Hunter

The latest and possibly last in the Paranormal Activity series – Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension – mustered $8.1 million over the weekend in North America, which is the lowest opening in the franchise. The movie had a better performance in foreign markets, which has led to $26 million earnings over the globe. The production budget of this film is quite low, something common to the movies of the franchise, at $10 million, and so the film-makers are likely to get back their investment. The movie’s release in North America was also curtailed to about 1,600 theatres by Paramount as the studio aims to bring the movie to Video-On-Demand quickly; part of the VOD earnings will be shared with the theatre exhibitors. It’s a unique arrangement though unless Paramount releases the data on VOD sales, it would be difficult to gauge how well things have worked. Nonetheless, the relatively weaker enthusiasm for last year’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and now Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension indicates that it’s time to wrap up the franchise. Hopefully, the studios will agree!

Earnings_Paranormal Activity - The Ghost Dimension

Before we talk about the holdovers from previous weeks, let’s quickly look at the other three wide releases of the weekend. The biopic Steve Jobs with Danny Boyle as director and Michael Fassbender in the titular role expanded nationwide, though hardly created a stir such as the kind seen during an Apple event. The movie’s reviews have been fantastic but it has earned close to only $10 million so far ($7.1 million over the weekend), which is far off from the $30 million production budget. The movie would need close to $100 million worldwide to break-even, and that now looks difficult despite Jobs’ global appeal. Nothing could be more unpleasant however than earning less than $1,000 per theatre in the first weekend, which is exactly what Rock the Kasbah ($1.5 million; $731 per theatre) and Jem and the Holograms ($1.4 million; $570 per theatre) managed. The production budgets were $15 million and $5 million respectively, which are unlikely to be fully recovered, as I expect these movies to disappear from the theatres with sub-$5 million total earnings. Quite disastrous figures!

Earnings_Steve Jobs

The Martian took back the top spot (for the third time in four weeks) as its resolute march continues. The movie has now earned close to $385 million worldwide. Last weekend’s Goosebumps fell by only 34% on its second weekend, which is remarkable for such a kind of movie. It has earned $53 million worldwide so far, and the numbers should improve as the foreign markets open up. Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies also dropped by only 26%, though the other wide release of last week Crimson Peak fell by a sharper 57%. Neither of them have been too successful on the box-office charts. And that seems to be the common theme running for two weeks in a row. Hopefully things are set to change soon!

Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office:

1. The Martian ($15.7 million; fourth weekend)

2. Goosebumps ($15.5 million; second weekend)

3. Bridge of Spies ($11.4 million; second weekend)

4. The Last Witch Hunter ($10.8 million)

5. Hotel Transylvania 2 ($8.9 million; fifth weekend)


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