Five weekends back, in early October, Ridley Scott’s The Martian had released to much fanfare. It earned $55 million in North America and was being hailed worldwide as an adventure worth seeing. The mood was buoyant; Hollywood seemed to be storming to a record year. And then it all went downhill for new releases. The subsequent weekend’s Pan became one of the biggest flops of the year, while The Walk turned out to be a failure too. A week later, Jack Black starrer Goosebumps managed a decent opening, while the so-called heavyweights Bridge of Spies and Crimson Peak fell short. Another week later we had as many as five wide releases with no one making any strong impression, as the Vin Diesel starrer The Last Witch Hunter and Danny Boyle directed Steve Jobs became notable flops. And now we endure another miserable weekend in North America.
The top 12 movies over the weekend earned a partly $62 million in North America, which is the lowest tally accumulated in 2015, and barely higher than the opening of The Martian alone seen a month back. All this, despite three new wide releases. Only one of them reached the top five positions on the box-office charts, the Bradley Cooper starrer Burnt which earned $5.0 million. That’s even lower than the heavily criticized Aloha (also starring Bradley Cooper) which had a $9.7 million opening. The way these two movies have tanked makes me question the star potential of Bradley Cooper who has been on a high with three successive Oscar nominations and the mind-blowing earnings of American Sniper seen in January this year. For an actor of his talent, Bradley Cooper should be wiser with his movie choices, as Burnt got critically panned (29% on Rottentomatoes) in addition to the box-office debacle. This $20 million budget film is not going to survive, though Bradley Cooper definitely will, and may have some joyous moments to look forward to as he re-teams with David O. Russell for Joy releasing later this year.
Sandra Bullock came on the screen after two years since the huge success of Gravity in 2013, but sadly Our Brand is Crisis did not turn out to be the kind of project that makes for a good return. The movie with a $28 million production budget earned a measly $3.4 million over the weekend which is the worst opening for a wide release for Sandra Bullock… ever! This is a crisis alright, as the critics too did not find much to enjoy in this comedy-drama around political campaigning strategies (33% score on Rottentomatoes). The movie is unlikely to manage even $10 million in North America, and I do not have high hopes for foreign earnings too, which makes this movie a bigger flop than anyone could have earlier expected. The third wide release to fail over the weekend was Paramount’s Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse which opened in only 1,509 theatres, earned only $1.8 million, received a 31% score on Rottemtomatoes, and will lose much of its $15 million production budget.
The top four spots were held by older movies as The Martian continues to be top of the heap. The movie has earned $428 million worldwide and will soon cross Christoper Nolan’s Interstellar domestically. Goosebumps is doing reasonably well in North America having earned $57 million so far, but its foreign earnings stand at $9.2 million till now which need to improve quickly for the studio to make some money here. Bridge of Spies has seen very low drops since its release, but the opening itself was so lackluster that the $57 million earned worldwide so far feels like a disappointment. Last week’s movies have however seen sharp drops: The Last Witch Hunter by 56%, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension by 57%, Steve Jobs by 64%, Rock The Kasbah by 74% and Jem and the Holograms by 79%. International earnings have been stronger for the first two of the lot with The Last Witch Hunter earning $57 million worldwide & Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension earning $51 million worldwide so far which lessens the disappointment.
Before I wrap up an otherwise abysmal box-office in North America, there is brighter news from the foreign release of the latest 007 flick Spectre. The movie opened in UK to record numbers, earning almost $64 million in its opening week. Spectre has earned in total $80 million from its release in few foreign territories and it comes to the USA next week to provide a much needed blockbuster and to wake-up the box-office from its slumber.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office:
1. The Martian ($11.4 million; fifth weekend)
2. Goosebumps ($10.2 million; third weekend)
3. Bridge of Spies ($8.1 million; third weekend)
4. Hotel Transylvania 2 ($5.8 million; sixth weekend)
5. Burnt ($5.0 million)