'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 Thu, Mar. 13 2014

Wide (1000+)

#TitleThu, Mar. 13 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1300: Rise of an Empire$2,988,113-3%3,470--$861$59,205,5531Warner Bros.
2Mr. Peabody & Sherman$2,377,0771%3,934--$604$41,979,9161Fox / DreamWorks Animation
3Non-Stop (2014)$1,324,0050%3,11323$425$58,189,8102Universal
4The LEGO Movie$1,084,2176%3,290-480$330$229,226,9285Warner Bros.
5Son of God$819,348-1%3,27111$250$45,474,7082Fox
6The Monuments Men$316,1231%2,001-1001$158$71,818,6925Sony / Columbia
7Frozen (2013)$313,0741%1,660-86$189$394,238,85016Disney
83 Days to Kill$298,178-3%2,348-524$127$26,732,3683Relativity Media
9RoboCop (2014)$200,722-10%1,714-1171$117$55,670,5314Sony / Columbia
1012 Years a Slave$195,318-2%1,065654$183$53,867,99221Fox Searchlight
11Pompeii$168,809-4%1,658-1000$102$21,828,0093Sony / TriStar
12Ride Along$165,225-14%1,323-546$125$130,721,4658Universal
13About Last Night$134,943-10%1,074-730$126$47,145,9004Sony / Screen Gems

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleThu, Mar. 13 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Wind Rises$91,9557%4960$185$3,848,9213Disney
2American Hustle$86,2591%605-340$143$148,743,28113Sony / Columbia
3Philomena$81,343-4%670-427$121$36,230,16216Weinstein Company
4Gravity$73,365-5%38444$191$272,124,89223Warner Bros.
5The Wolf of Wall Street$58,0472%359-146$162$115,931,91411Paramount
6The Nut Job$55,3118%490-262$113$61,608,5558Open Road
7Dallas Buyers Club$53,580-1%31296$172$26,403,35219Focus
8Lone Survivor$44,645-5%472-545$95$124,303,89111Universal
9The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug$41,37514%333118$124$257,557,42513Warner Bros. / New Line
10Endless Love (2014)$32,0450%536-1338$60$23,240,8804Universal
11That Awkward Moment$31,10139%188-420$165$25,714,7216Focus
12Her (2013)$21,407-5%155-95$138$25,089,46712Warner Bros.
13Repentance$20,230-12%1575$129$1,013,6252Lionsgate / Codeblack Films
14Nebraska$17,543-8%180-109$97$17,538,23617Paramount Vantage
15Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues$15,645-13%304-1013$51$127,322,44512Paramount
16August: Osage County$15,109-10%196-150$77$37,368,75711Weinstein Company
17Walking With Dinosaurs$13,70516%164-31$84$35,943,71812Fox
18Stalingrad (2014)$13,552-12%143-165$95$927,4422Sony / Columbia
19Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit$12,71015%107-260$119$50,147,6448Paramount
20The Hunger Games: Catching Fire$11,47812%133-65$86$424,133,88116Lionsgate
21The Secret Life of Walter Mitty$9,46910%133-30$71$58,058,71711Fox

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleThu, Mar. 13 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Grand Budapest Hotel$76,764-8%4--$19,191$1,138,9401Fox Searchlight
2Gloria (2014)$10,532-22%76-28$139$1,822,0047Roadside Attractions
3I, Frankenstein$10,2733%92-77$112$19,010,8787Lionsgate
4The Book Thief$8,89421%49-24$182$21,371,86818Fox
5Labor Day (2013)$6,919-3%84-23$82$13,347,3376Paramount
6The Legend Of Hercules$6,799-4%61-28$111$18,848,5389Lionsgate / Summit
7Inside Llewyn Davis$5,033-6%52-13$97$13,235,31914CBS Films
8Winter's Tale$3,941-7%82-623$48$12,486,3184Warner Bros.
9Free Birds$3,58314%7426$48$55,739,38419Relativity Media
10Ernest & Celestine$1,870-3%65$312$31,8862GKIDS
11Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom$1,232-44%42-49$29$8,299,97515Weinstein Company
12Grudge Match$1,15326%45-30$26$29,807,26011Warner Bros.
13Highway$88251%9-71$98$527,6253UTV Motion Pictures
14Vampire Academy$829-33%32-79$26$7,755,5525Weinstein Company