'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 $12.08 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 Tue, Jul. 31 2012

Wide (1000+)

#TitleTue, Jul. 31 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Dark Knight Rises$8,773,1168%4,4040$1,992$304,045,9722Warner Bros.
2Ice Age: Continental Drift$2,587,49940%3,869-17$669$119,331,2093Fox
3Step Up Revolution$1,886,72928%2,567--$735$15,091,5621Lionsgate / Summit
4The Watch$1,885,12619%3,168--$595$16,224,2921Fox
5The Amazing Spider-Man$1,325,35832%3,160-593$419$244,281,0304Sony / Columbia
6Ted (2012)$1,220,31020%3,129-85$390$195,855,9855Universal
8Magic Mike$527,00826%2,075-531$254$108,571,0615Warner Bros.
10Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection$185,35216%1,111-429$167$63,081,2885Lionsgate

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleTue, Jul. 31 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Moonrise Kingdom$246,77622%853-42$289$39,090,23710Focus
2Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted$193,43139%808-453$239$209,903,2468Paramount / DreamWorks
3Beasts of the Southern Wild$137,40220%20879$661$4,458,9645Fox Searchlight
4Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D$126,26922%606-517$208$24,366,2614Paramount
5The Hunger Games$104,04212%310120$336$406,079,03719Lionsgate
6The Intouchables$87,47536%194103$451$7,925,88110Weinstein Company
7Snow White and the Huntsman$69,22522%355-54$195$153,387,3959Universal
8The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel$64,51137%276-12$234$44,583,22313Fox Searchlight
9Dark Shadows$44,10210%222-190$199$79,434,89712Warner Bros.
11Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter$29,50118%197-69$150$36,833,0406Fox
12Safety Not Guaranteed$26,08014%14925$175$3,250,9968FilmDistrict
13Rock of Ages$24,95515%302-20$83$38,335,8177Warner Bros. / New Line
15What to Expect When You're Expecting$13,23817%139-53$95$41,126,69711Lionsgate

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleTue, Jul. 31 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1To the Arctic 3D$64,87841%520$1,248$6,521,65115Warner Bros. / IMAX
2Born to Be Wild 3D$16,78925%330$509$20,242,94769Warner Bros. / IMAX
3Ruby Sparks$14,860-6%13--$1,143$211,3821Fox Searchlight
4For Greater Glory$7,65821%8956$86$5,622,8019ARC Entertainment
5Mirror Mirror$4,63938%56-3$83$64,876,69418Relativity Media
6The Imposter$3,28490%21$1,642$64,3613Indomina Releasing
7Easy Money (2012)$2,358-3%53$472$88,3023Weinstein Company
8A Cat In Paris$1,77337%12-6$148$259,5009GKIDS
9The Obama Effect$145-6%2--$73$110,5513ARC Entertainment
1030 Beats$7--2--$4$14,6932Roadside Attractions