'The Martian' Scores Second Largest October Debut Ever with $55.0M Launch; 'Hotel Transylvania 2' a Strong Second with $33.0M; 'Sicario' Solid with $12.1M ExpansionOctober 04, 2015 09:31 AM

by Daniel Garris

Fox's The Martian arrived with a strong estimated first place debut of $55.0 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 1 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 16 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 $18.13 million on Friday (which included an estimated $2.5 million from Thursday evening shows), increased a strong 23 percent on Saturday to gross $22.28 million and is estimated to decline 34.5 percent on Sunday to take in $14.6 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at a very promising 3.03 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 an estimated second place take of $33.0 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 $90.54 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 an estimated third place take of $12.08 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 9 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 $4.66 million and is estimated to decline 33 percent on Sunday to gross $3.13 million. That gives the film an estimated weekend to Friday ratio of 2.81 to 1. Sicario received a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore.

Warner's The Intern held up nicely in its second weekend with an estimated fourth place take of $11.62 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 $36.52 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 an estimated $7.65 million. The young adult sequel from Fox fell 46 percent, as the film continues to understandably display more front-loading than its predecessor did last year. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has grossed $63.24 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 an estimated $1.55 million from 448 exclusive IMAX and PLF locations. That gave The Walk a per-location average of just $3,460 for the frame. The Walk has grossed $1.97 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.

Daily Domestic Gross Thu, Feb. 16 2012

Wide (1000+)

#TitleThu, Feb. 16 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Vow$2,913,7310%2,958--$985$61,926,8371Sony / Screen Gems
2Safe House$2,557,5802%3,119--$820$54,269,6151Universal
3Journey 2: The Mysterious Island$1,144,06618%3,470--$330$33,116,3421Warner Bros. / New Line
5Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D$717,2869%2,655--$270$25,873,2351Fox
6The Woman in Black$616,16014%2,8561$216$38,610,6182CBS Films
7The Grey$421,1214%2,801-406$150$44,893,0593Open Road
8The Descendants$289,5027%1,581-457$183$72,082,77013Fox Searchlight
9Big Miracle$266,62525%2,1334$125$14,443,4952Universal
10Underworld Awakening$238,679-4%1,657-979$144$60,243,8014Sony / Screen Gems
11Red Tails$230,0568%1,580-767$146$46,116,5364Fox
12One For the Money$213,2509%2,056-681$104$24,676,2093Lionsgate
13Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close$136,29115%1,375-1130$99$30,002,9778Warner Bros.
14Man on a Ledge$120,02211%1,423-1575$84$18,045,9483Lionsgate

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleThu, Feb. 16 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Artist$231,8445%808-197$287$25,098,95912Weinstein Company
3The Iron Lady$132,0769%512-509$258$23,359,7867Weinstein Company
4Beauty and the Beast 3D$67,29528%678-1041$99$46,744,8265Disney
5Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol$63,11516%469-608$135$206,813,4239Paramount
6War Horse$49,83817%502-661$99$78,407,9668Disney / DreamWorks
7Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy$49,2857%232-70$212$22,202,84710Focus
8Joyful Noise$44,00117%686-664$64$30,087,9595Warner Bros.
9Albert Nobbs$33,2895%151-94$220$2,164,5643Roadside Attractions
10The Adventures of Tintin$31,65339%257-229$123$76,001,3168Paramount
11Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked$30,08420%502-316$60$129,188,4959Fox
12Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows$29,1164%265-592$110$184,717,3549Warner Bros.
13We Bought a Zoo$26,61037%420-334$63$73,356,6218Fox
14My Week with Marilyn$25,55718%125-46$204$13,445,11712Weinstein Company
15Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu$22,597-21%111--$204$795,5331UTV Communications
16Haywire$22,1363%263-988$84$18,681,7444Relativity Media
17Puss in Boots (2011)$16,19034%209-44$77$148,810,97616Paramount / DreamWorks
18The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1$12,35220%230-66$54$281,213,34513Lionsgate / Summit
19Happy Feet Two$11,92111%202-53$59$63,729,22413Warner Bros.
20New Year's Eve$7,47826%155-67$48$54,525,28310Warner Bros. / New Line

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleThu, Feb. 16 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Born to Be Wild 3D$20,82010%44-1$473$16,223,56545Warner Bros. / IMAX
2Shame$11,524-1%52-12$222$3,653,62011Fox Searchlight
3W.E.$6,806-4%1713$400$153,9302Weinstein Company
4The Sitter$6,3772%99-27$64$30,441,32610Fox
5Coriolanus$4,11228%11-3$374$282,7504Weinstein Company
6The Devil Inside$3,227-5%95-208$34$53,166,4436Paramount
7Pariah (2011)$2,64632%13-6$204$667,2657Focus
8Young Adult$2,525-3%35-23$72$16,266,21110Paramount
9Immortals$2,20913%33-29$67$83,497,43614Relativity Media
10J. Edgar$1,6794%42-93$40$37,300,47214Warner Bros.
11In the Land of Blood and Honey$1,5527%103$155$277,8698FilmDistrict
12The Darkest Hour$83012%18-21$46$21,221,0058Summit
13Vettai$34942%2-2$175$200,0635UTV Communications
14Margin Call$112-7%2--$56$5,354,03917Roadside Attractions