Skip to Content

This was Hollywood’s weekend of duds and flops

THE MARTIANTHE MARTIAN
Matt Damon in "The Martian."Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Once again, a sci-fi blockbuster with a star-studded cast topped the weekend box office.

The problem? That movie is The Martian, which is in its fourth week in theaters and just posted its lowest-grossing weekend. With $15.9 million in domestic ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo, the Matt Damon vehicle from Fox (FOX) topped an extremely weak field to claim its third weekend box office title in four weeks. The Martian reclaimed its title from last week’s top film—Sony’s (SNE) family-friendly horror comedy, Goosebumps—which finished second this past weekend with $15.5 million.

The weekend slate of new films hitting theaters saw its fair share of flops for the first time this year. In fact, with Walt Disney’s (DIS) thriller Bridge of Spies settling into third place with $11.4 million this past weekend, it was the first time since late February that no new releases cracked the top three for weekend domestic gross.

Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter ranked the highest among debuts this weekend, but its $10.8 million domestic gross was only good enough for fourth at the box office. With a reported budget of at least $70 million, The Last Witch Hunter has a long way to go for Lionsgate (LGF) to avoid having a big flop on its hands. Meanwhile, the latest Paranormal Activity sequel finished sixth at the domestic box office (behind the animated hit Hotel Transylvania 2, itself in its fifth week in theaters) with just $8.2 million, though the film played in half as many theaters as many of its competitors, and it was relatively cheap to make, with a reported $10 million budget.

Move further down the list, though, and you will find a few more major disappointments, including the Oscar-buzzy Steve Jobs, which had its wide release this past weekend after previous limited showings in select markets. As Fortune has noted, the movie about Apple’s (AAPL) co-founder finished seventh with just $7.3 million despite critical acclaim and strong showings in a limited run that included one of the highest per-screen averages in history. With a $30 million budget and an A-list cast, Steve Jobs is more Oscar bait than blockbuster material, but that doesn’t mean its studio, Comcast-owned (CMCSA) Universal, should be happy with such a relatively lame wide debut.

And, speaking of Universal, the studio’s new offering this past weekend, the live-action Jem and the Holograms (based on the 1980s cartoon), also fell flat. The film pulled in just $1.3 million, ranking 15th in the weekend box office, though that comes against a very modest $5 million budget. Jem fared only slightly worse than another new release, the Bill Murray feature, Rock the Kasbah, which pulled in only $1.5 million in domestic box office receipts against a reported $15 million budget. Those two films were the only two in the top 20-grossing films this past weekend to earn less than $1,000 per screen, with Rock the Kasbah averaging $750 and Jem with just $547.