'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 Mon, Dec. 2 2013

Wide (1000+)

#TitleMon, Dec. 2 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Hunger Games: Catching Fire$3,402,550-76%4,1630$817$299,698,2072Lionsgate
2Frozen (2013)$2,504,648-84%3,7423741$669$96,437,8742Disney
3Thor: The Dark World$531,201-75%3,286-427$162$187,236,2874Disney
4Homefront$503,072-68%2,570--$196$10,243,4911Open Road
5The Best Man Holiday$411,225-72%1,717-324$240$63,499,7003Universal
6Delivery Man$370,330-72%3,0360$122$19,726,7132Disney / DreamWorks
7The Book Thief$350,296-67%1,2341164$284$8,215,2164Fox
8Last Vegas$166,745-68%1,854-1072$90$58,765,4175CBS Films
9Black Nativity$162,975-74%1,516--$108$4,942,6981Fox Searchlight
1012 Years a Slave$158,756-68%1,165-309$136$33,313,9987Fox Searchlight
11Gravity$136,290-71%1,016-829$134$249,835,3399Warner Bros.
12Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa$104,949-65%1,503-1122$70$98,884,5786Paramount
13Free Birds$63,680-82%2,287-784$28$53,330,5895Relativity Media

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleMon, Dec. 2 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Philomena$297,245-67%835831$356$4,934,6642Weinstein Company
2Dallas Buyers Club$160,362-69%69630$230$10,376,0665Focus
3Oldboy (2013)$92,029-58%583--$158$1,374,6941FilmDistrict
4Ender's Game$61,568-72%843-1192$73$59,442,7985Lionsgate / Summit
5Captain Phillips$60,299-69%807-849$75$102,784,2548Sony / Columbia
6Nebraska$55,154-68%10274$541$1,534,4853Paramount Vantage
7About Time$24,665-69%331-719$75$14,688,3235Universal
8Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2$23,670-73%707-414$33$115,057,47910Sony / Columbia
9All Is Lost$17,854-62%154-193$116$5,323,9997Roadside Attractions
10Despicable Me 2$14,785-78%271-24$55$366,947,26522Universal
11Prisoners$9,251-56%203-52$46$60,972,12911Warner Bros.
12Enough Said$7,350-71%121-112$61$17,202,22611Fox Searchlight
13We're the Millers$6,058-69%164-31$37$150,375,02917Warner Bros. / New Line
14Insidious: Chapter 2$5,604-70%140-45$40$83,464,29612FilmDistrict
15The Family (2013)$4,838-63%1304$37$36,814,56412Relativity Media
16Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters$4,680-79%163-22$29$68,244,08117Fox
17Escape Plan$3,283-68%141-126$23$24,559,0427Lionsgate / Summit

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleMon, Dec. 2 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom$4,984-71%4--$1,246$89,2671Weinstein Company
2Lee Daniels' The Butler$4,556-47%71-53$64$115,645,73316Weinstein Company
3Instructions Not Included$3,445-81%68-12$51$44,410,86614Lionsgate / Pantelion
4The Counselor$2,596-64%78-51$33$16,859,4946Fox
5Gori Tere Pyaar Mein$2,286-80%56-56$41$328,1702Reliance Entertainment
6Don Jon$1,748-74%26-10$67$24,299,64110Relativity Media
7Romeo and Juliet (2013)$1,4652890%120$122$1,162,5548Relativity Media
8Runner Runner$566-55%23-15$25$19,313,0469Fox
9Linsanity$552207%3--$184$285,7999Ketchup Entertainment
10In a World...$392-71%5-4$78$2,962,93417Roadside Attractions
11Reaching for the Moon$375-70%43$94$44,2134Wolfe Releasing
12The World's End$335-69%60$56$26,003,48415Focus
13Contempt (2013 re-issue)$289-39%1--$289$33,52213Rialto Pictures
14Big Sur$44-48%21$22$34,8345Ketchup Entertainment