Weekend Box Office: Hollywood Burnt Again

September is usually one of the worst months for box office numbers. This year, however, aside from a pair of lucrative releases, October takes the cake for terrible movie openings. The final weekend of October brought with it the worst box office of 2015 so far.

With a small window before ‘Spectre’ takes the biggest screens next week, Fox pushed ‘The Martian‘ out to IMAX locations for one week only. I’m unable to tell if the film once again held onto its lead due to this push, or if that was just because the array of new releases failed to appeal to moviegoers. Slipping just 27%, ‘The Martian’ retained the top spot in its fifth week with $11.4 million. It has now earned $182.8 million domestically and will become director Ridley Scott’s highest-grossing film by the end of next week.

Finishing in second place, ‘Goosebumps‘ once again stayed in the #2 spot. Its third week yielded $10.2 million from a 34% drop. Sony’s $58 million family flick now sits with a 17-day total of $57.1 million.

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Bridge of Spiesalso held its position. For three consecutive weeks, the Cold War drama finished in third place. The light 29% drop in attendance resulted in $8 million. After 17 days, the $40 million film sits with a domestic total of $45.2 million.

Sony’s ‘Hotel Transylvania 2‘ actually climbed up a position in its sixth week. Perfectly suitable for families on Halloween, the animated picture only fell 34% and added $5.8 million to its $156 million domestic total.

The best that any of the three new wide releases could do was fifth place – and that wasn’t even the most appealing of them. Bradley Cooper’s coming-of-middle-age culinary comedy ‘Burnt‘ debuted to $5 million. This total doesn’t seem too bad considering that it’s a Weinstein release (because Weinstein typically opens on lower screen counts). However, ‘Burnt’ rolled out to more than 3,000 screens. The $1,678 per-screen average shows how poorly it performed.

Sandra Bullock’s satirical political dramedy ‘Our Brand Is Crisis‘ should have done better than that, but the best it could manage was eighth place. From more than 2,200 screens, the David Gordon Green film opened to $3.4 million. Like ‘Burnt’, its $1,558 per-screen average shows the gravity of the performance.

If you thought those sound bad, ‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse‘ did even worse. Finishing in twelfth place, Paramount’s horror comedy only scored $1.7 million. From more than 1,500 locations, its per-screen average was just $1,173. As the second flop in Paramount’s test strategy to hit VOD services just a few weeks after debuting theatrically (the other being the last ‘Paranormal Activity’ entry), I’ll offer the following suggestions to the distributor: 1) Make better movies; 2) Make movies for the big screen.

At the specialty box office, Gaspar Noé’s sexually-charged 3D drama ‘Love‘ had a decent $30,124 debut. Playing at just two locations, that gives it a per-screen average of $15,062.

Although we’ve seen quite a bit of week-over-week repetition in the Top 5, next weekend ought to mix things up as the latest James Bond films hits 2D and IMAX screens. ‘Spectre’ saw record-breaking numbers ($80.4 million) this weekend from six overseas markets, so it will be interesting to see how it does when it opens in North America this Friday.

Box office numbers have yet to be reported for ‘Freaks of Nature’.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Martian’ (Fox) – $11,400,000

2. ‘Goosebumps’ (Sony) – $10,210,000

3. ‘Bridge of Spies’ (Buena Vista) – $8,060,000

4. ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ (Sony) – $5,830,000

5. ‘Burnt’ (Weinstein) – $5,038,000

6. ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ (Lionsgate) – $4,750,000

7. ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ (Paramount) – $3,450,000

8. ‘Our Brand is Crisis’ (Warner Bros.) – $3,430,000

9. ‘Crimson Peak’ (Universal) – $3,110,000

10. ‘Steve Jobs’ (Universal) – $2,580,000

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