'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 Fri, Mar. 7 2014

Wide (1000+)

#TitleFri, Mar. 7 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1300: Rise of an Empire$17,454,309--3,470--$5,030$17,454,3091Warner Bros.
2Mr. Peabody & Sherman$8,018,923--3,934--$2,038$8,018,9231Fox / DreamWorks Animation
3Non-Stop (2014)$4,700,630193%3,11323$1,510$41,439,5552Universal
4Son of God$2,688,63396%3,27111$822$34,183,5282Fox
5The LEGO Movie$2,526,539143%3,290-480$768$216,493,1515Warner Bros.
63 Days to Kill$874,132103%2,348-524$372$23,368,3493Relativity Media
7The Monuments Men$866,50268%2,001-1001$433$68,368,1455Sony / Columbia
8Frozen (2013)$633,121117%1,660-86$381$390,673,23516Disney
912 Years a Slave$584,085310%1,065654$548$51,516,12021Fox Searchlight
10Ride Along$582,120229%1,323-546$440$128,546,2008Universal
11RoboCop (2014)$512,70358%1,714-1171$299$53,258,8114Sony / Columbia
12About Last Night$490,833101%1,074-730$457$45,339,2234Sony / Screen Gems
13Pompeii$466,35530%1,658-1000$281$19,934,3833Sony / TriStar

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleFri, Mar. 7 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1American Hustle$299,61294%605-340$495$147,630,52013Sony / Columbia
2Gravity$240,014158%38444$625$271,152,62023Warner Bros.
3The Wind Rises$239,902106%4960$484$2,827,1323Disney
4The Wolf of Wall Street$196,47994%359-146$547$115,199,33611Paramount
5Philomena$192,37911%670-427$287$35,576,12616Weinstein Company
6Dallas Buyers Club$171,676183%31296$550$25,741,28319Focus
7Endless Love (2014)$150,08034%536-1338$280$22,844,8704Universal
8Lone Survivor$115,64034%472-545$245$123,822,89611Universal
9The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug$87,309259%333118$262$257,140,61613Warner Bros. / New Line
10Repentance$80,235187%1575$511$702,3322Lionsgate / Codeblack Films
11That Awkward Moment$78,16815%188-420$416$25,446,7946Focus
12Her (2013)$73,759114%155-95$476$24,809,93712Warner Bros.
13The Nut Job$71,12113%490-262$145$61,154,7288Open Road
14Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues$53,477-63%304-1013$176$127,154,85412Paramount
15Nebraska$48,8154%180-109$271$17,331,33217Paramount Vantage
16Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit$36,78011%107-260$344$50,024,8148Paramount
17August: Osage County$35,1813%196-150$179$37,214,63711Weinstein Company
18The Hunger Games: Catching Fire$34,692115%133-65$261$424,004,53516Lionsgate
19Stalingrad (2014)$31,442-21%143-165$220$789,0512Sony / Columbia
20The Secret Life of Walter Mitty$25,741154%133-30$194$57,967,35111Fox
21Walking With Dinosaurs$14,62796%164-31$89$35,831,60612Fox
22Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2$13,119--111-52$118$119,679,91024Sony / Columbia

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleFri, Mar. 7 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Grand Budapest Hotel$260,447--4--$65,112$260,4471Fox Searchlight
2Gloria (2014)$29,91137%76-26$394$1,692,1537Roadside Attractions
3I, Frankenstein$17,86081%92-77$194$18,917,9587Lionsgate
4Labor Day (2013)$13,76785%84-23$164$13,289,3676Paramount
5The Book Thief$12,52829%49-24$256$21,321,42618Fox
6Winter's Tale$10,579-68%82-623$129$12,448,4324Warner Bros.
7The Legend Of Hercules$8,92344%61-28$146$18,789,7169Lionsgate / Summit
8Inside Llewyn Davis$7,038-22%52-13$135$13,191,51214CBS Films
9Free Birds$4,29184%7426$58$55,696,70519Relativity Media
10Highway$3,196-45%9-71$355$517,3423UTV Motion Pictures
11Ernest & Celestine$2,888500%65$481$17,8952GKIDS
12Vampire Academy$2,583-28%32-79$81$7,742,3115Weinstein Company
13Grudge Match$2,285-1%45-30$51$29,795,11211Warner Bros.
14Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom$2,000-61%42-49$48$8,287,63715Weinstein Company