Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Only one new movie will enter Chinese cinemas this week as the National Day "Golden Week" holiday winds down, and Pixar's Inside Out won't be changing the existing box office landscape very much with its debut.

Playing on just 14% of China's screens, Inside Out pulled in an estimated $4.6 million on its opening Tuesday. While that takes the highest opening day record for a Pixar release in China, topping Monsters University's opening Friday in summer 2013 by 25%, the Chinese film industry itself has nearly doubled its box office capacity within those two years. Given Disney's increased marketing push into China and the success of other animation studio's releases -- DreamWorks Animation with Kung Fu Panda 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and The Croods; Blue Sky Studios with Ice Age 4 -- Disney must be feeling less than joyful with Inside Out's performance and the lackluster reception Pixar films in general receive from Middle Kingdom audiences. Of the top 20 highest grossing toons in China, only one Pixar title has a spot: Monsters University all the way down at #17.

So what's behind the poor showing? Rob Cain, a long-time Chinese film industry watcher writing over at Forbes put it nicely: 

Whereas the "New York Times" enthused about Inside Out by exclaiming "The film solves a thorny philosophical problem with the characteristically Pixaresque tools of whimsy, sincerity and ingenious literal-mindedness," for China these elements are problematic for the audience. Judging by the list of films that have excelled there, it would appear that Chinese moviegoers prefer their animation stories to be more simple, straightforward, and traditional.

The Chinese moviegoers Rob is referring to are predominantly in the 3rd and 4th tier cities that are driving China's incredible box office growth. Looking at data from Inside Out's opening day screen count, Beijing and Shanghai had the Pixar film playing on 17% and 19% of their screens respectively, while Shijiazhuang -- a 3rd tier city an hour and a half from Beijing by high speed rail -- played the film on just 12% of its screens. Quite clearly what little demand there is for Inside Out comes from China's big international cities where Disney can more easily target its marketing to residents already familiar with Pixar's unique brand of animation. I'm sure these data points aren't lost on Disney studio execs, but if the company can't figure out how to market Pixar movies to generate the same buzz as it does for its Marvel Cinematic Universe and the upcoming Star Wars films in the Chinese heartland, they'll continue to be on the outside looking in.

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By Daniel Garris

Fox's The Martian arrived with a strong first place debut of $54.31 million this weekend. The critically acclaimed Ridley Scott directed 3D sci-fi film starring Matt Damon lived up to its already lofty expectations and claimed the second largest opening weekend performance ever for the month of October. The Martian opened just 3 percent below the $55.79 million debut of October record holder Gravity back in 2013. The comparison is especially impressive given that The Martian didn't have the advantage of higher priced IMAX admissions that Gravity had. The Martian opened 14 percent ahead of the $47.51 million debut of last year's Interstellar (which also had the advantage of higher priced IMAX admissions). An effective advertising campaign, strong critical reviews, the combined drawing power of Scott and Damon and the pre-established fanbase for the novel the film is based on all contributed to the success of The Martian this weekend.

The Martian opened with $18.15 million on Friday (which included an estimated $2.5 million from Thursday evening shows), increased a strong 23 percent on Saturday to gross $22.25 million and is declined 37.5 percent on Sunday to take in $13.91 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at a promising 2.99 to 1. The Martian received a strong A rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film is going over just as well with moviegoers as it has with critics. Given both its strong critical reviews and strong early word of mouth, it is highly likely that The Martian will hold up very well throughout the month of October.

Sony's Hotel Transylvania 2 continued to impress with a second place take of $33.19 million. The Adam Sandler led 3D computer animated film from Sony Pictures Animation held up very nicely this weekend, as it was down just 32 percent from last weekend's already stronger than expected launch. In comparison, 2012's Hotel Transylvania fell 36 percent in its second weekend to gross $27.05 million. Hotel Transylvania 2 has grossed $90.73 million through ten days of release. That places the film an impressive 18 percent ahead of the $76.71 million ten-day start of Hotel Transylvania and represents a very nice rebound for both Sandler and Sony from the lackluster performance of Pixels this summer. While it will soon face new competition for family audiences from both Warner's Pan and fellow Sony release Goosebumps, Hotel Transylvania 2 still has a very good chance of continuing to hold up well throughout the month of October, especially with the aid of the approaching Halloween holiday and no new animated films entering the marketplace until Fox's The Peanuts Movie arrives on November 6th.

On the heels of its impressive two-week performance in platform release, Lionsgate's Sicario had a very solid expansion into wide release with a third place take of $12.15 million. The critically acclaimed crime thriller starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin performed in line with expectations. Thanks in part to strong critical reviews and the buzz generated from the film's platform performance; Sicario was able to hold its own in the face of The Martian this weekend. This weekend's performance for Sicario was only 8 percent below the $13.24 million expansion performance of Universal's Everest last weekend. Going forward, Sicario is likely to hold up better than Everest has.

Sicario grossed $4.29 million on Friday, increased 9 percent on Saturday to take in $4.67 million and declined 32 percent on Sunday to gross $3.18 million. That gave the film a weekend to Friday ratio of 2.83 to 1. Sicario received a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore.

Warner's The Intern held up nicely in its second weekend with a fourth place take of $11.69 million. The Nancy Meyers directed comedy starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway was down 34 percent from last weekend. In a fall moviegoing season filled with more serious fare thus far, The Intern is appealing to moviegoers in the mood for a comedy and has taken in $36.59 million in ten days. The film is running 9 percent ahead of the $33.47 million ten-day take of 2013's Last Vegas (which fell 32 percent in its second weekend to gross $11.04 million). Expect The Intern to continue to display healthy holding power going forward.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials rounded out the weekend's top five with $7.80 million. The young adult sequel from Fox fell 45 percent, as the film continues to understandably display more front-loading than its predecessor did last year. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has grossed $63.40 million in 17 days. That is below expectations and places the film 14 percent behind the $73.56 million 17-day gross of The Maze Runner.

Meanwhile, Sony's The Walk was off to a soft start this weekend in moderate release. The critically acclaimed 3D Robert Zemeckis directed film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt only managed $1.56 million from 448 exclusive IMAX and PLF locations. That gave The Walk a per-location average of just $3,483 for the frame. The Walk has grossed $1.98 million through five days of release. Despite strong critical reviews, The Walk is clearly feeling the negative effects of facing very tough competition and not having the most mainstream friendly concept to begin with. The Walk will hope to build momentum off of its strong critical reviews when it goes into wide release next weekend, but that will be easier said than done after this weekend's performance.

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By Alex Edghill

Monday Morning Update: Steve Jobs lead all upcoming films in new likes over the past week as it rose 66,323 likes to 286,502 overall. The main comparison that comes to mind here is that of jOBS, the Ashton Kutcher-led film which also tackled the life of Steve Jobs had less than half the likes going into its release where it was largely panned by critics and opened shy of $7 million last Summer. The Martian played to a similar older demographic this past weekend and had a massive opening of $54 million+ with just under 200k likes. One thing that's clear is that this is going to do much better than the previous Jobs film, both on opening weekend and over its entire run thanks to its great buzz and certain award-season accolades.  

Mockingjay - Part 2 took home second spot on the past week with a less than eye-popping 59k new likes. With its massive total of 21 million likes in tow, this jump hardly made a mark. The franchise's history ensures it will be a massive opener but with Part 1 being the weakest of the three previous films by far I have my doubts on if it can return to the glory-days of the first film and cross the $150 million mark on opening weekend.

The Last Witchhunter has started airing TV spots and as such it was the biggest percentage mover on the week, rising 56,584 likes to 185,593 overall. Diesel has been pretty quiet over the last 10 years compared to many a-listers, appearing in 8 movies with four of those being Fast & The Furious franchise alums. It remains to be seen if he will be able to tap into the Fast or Riddick crowd to help propel The Last Witchhunter. Perhaps the best comparison I can think of here would be John Wick, the smart, sleek actioner from last October which Keanu Reeves drove all the way to $80 million worldwide from a $20 million budget. Wick had less than 25,000 likes this same distance before its October 24th release where it opened to $14 million in North America.  

In a battle of the horrors, Crimson Peak barely pushed past Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension on the weekly chart. Paranormal has a storied past though it seems as though its glory days might be behind it with its last two films seeing a decline in opening weekend earnings, with Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones being the lowest grossing and opening film of the franchise. The fact that it has been delayed numerous times and has been sitting on shelves for over two years is also a bit of a red flag for potential. On the other hand Crimson Peak is from the mind of horror-royalty Guillermo del Toro and has been steadily climbing up the like charts in recent weeks. Paranormal has a strong shot at having a larger opening weekend but my money would be on Crimson Peak to win the overall box office race.

Facebook Top 5 Movies by Like Increase for the last week Ending Sunday October 4th

Rank Release Movie Likes Previous Change % Change
1 10/09/15 Steve Jobs 286,502 220,179 66,323 30.12%
2 11/20/15 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 21,994,761 21,935,740 59,021 0.27%
3 10/23/15 The Last Witch Hunter 185,593 129,009 56,584 43.86%
4 10/16/15 Crimson Peak 352,206 304,349 47,857 15.72%
5 10/23/15 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension 19,354,334 19,309,829 44,505 0.23%

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industry Leaders from Film Marketing, Distribution, Exhibition and Technology Join FandangoLabs Advisory Board

LOS ANGELES - October 5, 2015 8:30 AM PT/11:30 AM ET -- Fandango, the nation's leading digital destination for moviegoers and fans, announced today the formation of FandangoLabs, the company's new research and development unit dedicated to innovating moviegoing products and services. FandangoLabs will explore bringing to market exciting new ways for consumers to experience movies on the big screen and share new audience conveniences to grow advanced ticketing and drive theater attendance.

"At Fandango, we're at the intersection of entertainment, technology and consumers and we are excited to help drive innovation for the industry," said Paul Yanover, Fandango President. "We've formed FandangoLabs so that the industry and consumers can benefit from our unique position in the movie ecosystem to foster the development of engaging new products and experiences for the millions of moviegoers and fans who use Fandango."

FandangoLabs will work with multiple facets of the film and technology industries, enlisting a diverse and experienced array of leaders as inaugural members to its advisory board, including Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios EVP, Theatrical Distribution; George Dewey, Head of Digital Marketing, 20th Century Fox; David Doyle, Chief Information Officer, SVP, Regal Entertainment Group; Alwyn Hight Kushner, President and COO, TCL Chinese Theatres; Jason Blum, Founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions; and Jennifer Panasik, Portfolio Director, Media & Technology, IDEO. Global design firm IDEO will serve as a Fandango innovation partner in this new venture.

FandangoLabs will seek to accelerate moviegoing experiences that will delight fans, utilizing new technologies and business models. It will explore new possibilities across location-based services, social commerce, augmented and virtual reality, interactive video, and personalization, among others. FandangoLabs hopes to release its first moviegoing products in 2016.

Driven by a relentless desire to serve film audiences, Fandango has implemented a first-to-market strategy to deliver ticketing, trailers and other movie-related content on multiple emerging platforms on mobile, Web, TV and connected devices. The company has partnered with technology leaders like Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon and others that share like-minded goals to super-serve its consumers.

Fandango has created market-leading apps for Apple's iOS devices, Passbook, Siri and Apple Watch and Google's Android platform, Google Plus and Google Now, and operates the #1 movie trailers and content channel on YouTube with Fandango Movieclips. The company powers a movie trailer service with embedded ticketing functionality on Samsung Smart TVs, phones and tablets, and has movie trailer and video channels on Hulu, AOL and Roku. Fandango also provides ticketing to movie content hubs including IMDb, Yahoo! Movies, Moviefone, MSN, and others.

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Enjoy Drinks, a Movie, or Both

LOS ANGELES (October 2015) - Landmark Theatres is proud to announce the opening of Washington DC's newest movie theatre and lounge, Atlantic Plumbing Cinema. The premiere film will be STEVE JOBS, starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen. It premieres Thursday, October 15 at 8 PM and will be featured on all 6 screens.

Located in Washington's historic U Street Corridor, the Atlantic Plumbing Cinema will be dedicated to offering its guests engaging and exciting film programming - all in a comfortable, luxurious, state-of-the-art theatrical environment. Atlantic Plumbing Cinema will be an exciting addition to a revitalized neighborhood.

Each of the auditoriums at Atlantic Plumbing Cinema will feature plush leather oversized seats in stadium settings, with large screens, digital projection and Dolby 7.1 surround sound. This will provide guests maximum comfort and also offer the latest in film presentation. The theatre will offer reserved seating so guests have the option to pre-purchase individual seats online or using an automated ticketing kiosk in the lobby.

"I want to thank Robin Mosle and her team at JBG who had the vision to rebuild this community with an entertainment component. We are excited to partner with them in this innovative bar and theatre," said Ted Mundorff, CEO Landmark Theatres.

Atlantic Plumbing Cinema features a contemporary bar and lounge area, making it a destination for food, drink, and entertainment. A full bar menu and craft beers will be available. The theatre will also feature classic concessions, along with edgier fare unique to Landmark Theatres.

Atlantic Plumbing Cinema is located at 807 V Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.

Additional information about Landmark's Atlantic Plumbing Cinema can be found at www.LandmarkTheatres.com/Washington-D-C/Atlantic-Plumbing-Cinema , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Atlantic-Plumbing-Cinema/515798068572917 and https://Twitter.com/LTWashDC. For more information and a map of directions, please visit www.LandmarkTheatres.com/Washington-D-C/Atlantic-Plumbing-Cinema/info.

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