Box Office: 'Goosebumps' Out-Spooks 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Crimson Peak' With $23.5M
Rathergate movie 'Truth' and Netflix entry 'Beasts of No Nation' falter at the specialty box office as critical darlings 'Steve Jobs' and 'Room' get most of the love.
Pointing to the buying power of families, Sony's Goosebumps edged past The Martian to win the crowded box office race in North America, easily out-spooking Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama Bridge of Spies and Guillermo del Toro's troubled gothic romance Crimson Peak.
Goosebumps, based on the beloved children's book series and starring Jack Black, took in $23.5 million from 3,501 theaters to land on the higher end of expectations.
Overseas, Disney and Marvel Studios' Ant-Man made headlines in its China debut this weekend, grossing an impressive $43.2 million in the world's second-largest moviegoing market for a global total of $454.6 million. It's the second-biggest opening weekend for a Disney and Marvel title in China behind Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Ridley Scott's blockbuster The Martian remained a potent player in its third weekend, grossing $21.5 million domestically from 3,701 locations to come in No. 2 and push the movie's domestic total to $143.8 million for Fox. Globally, the space epic rocketed past $300 million after weekend earnings of $37 million from 74 markets for a foreign total of $175.4 million and global cume of $319.2 million. To date, Its biggest offshore markets are the U.K. ($27 million) and South Korea ($21.6 million).
Getting a jump on Halloween, Goosebumps stars Black as the famous writer R.L. Stine whose literary characters — a collection of ghouls and ghosts — escape from his books and wreak havoc on the world. The 3D horror-comedy, directed by Rob Letterman and adapted by Scott Alexander, also stars Dylan Minnette and Odeya Rush.
"To be No. 1 in such a competitive marketplace is an incredible result," said Sony worldwide president of marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein. "This is the beginning of a franchise."
Goosebumps faced direct competition from fellow Sony family title Hotel Transylvania 2, which placed No. 5 in its fourth weekend with a hearty $12.3 million for a domestic total of $136.4 million, and Warner Bros.' Pan, although Pan continued to prove a flop in its second outing, tumbling 62 percent to $5.6 million for a domestic cume of $25.7 million. Internationally, Transylvania 2 took in $30.6 million from 65 markets for a foreign haul of $131.1 million and worldwide total of $267.5 million. Pan struggled offshore, grossing $14.4 million from 52 markets for a foreign total of $47.1 million and global cume of $72.8 million.
While Sony is prospering in the family space, it hasn't been as lucky with Robert Zemeckis' The Walk. The movie, hoping to be an awards contender, tumbled 68 percent in its second weekend in wide release to $1.2 million for a North American cume of $9.2 million. It is also stumbling overseas, earning another meek $6.7 million from 70 markets for a foreign cume of $17.4 million and global total of $26.6 million.
Going after older adults, Bridge of Spies opened to $15.4 million from 2,811 theaters to place No. 3 in North America. The DreamWorks and Participant Media title, distributed by Disney and costing $40 million to make, hopes for a long run throughout awards season after scoring stellar reviews and an A CinemaScore. Nearly 90 percent of the audience was over the age of 25 — including 43 percent over the age of 50.
Bridge of Spies, inspired by true events, follows Brooklyn insurance lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), who was plucked from his ordinary existence to represent Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. That led to being tasked with helping negotiate the release of Francis Gary Powers, whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960.
"We had a lot of momentum coming out of the New York Film Festival and conversation about awards," Disney worldwide distribution president Dave Hollis said. "Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have been so consistent over the course of time."
Of the new nationwide offerings, del Toro's R-rated Crimson Peak was the big disappointment of the weekend, earning $12.9 million from 2,984 theaters to place No. 4. Early Friday afternoon, it looked like the Legendary Pictures title, distributed by Universal, had a shot at crossing $20 million, but it quickly fell off and marks the filmmaker's lowest opening for a major studio film.
"There were a lot of adult titles available, so that was a big challenge," said Nic Carpou, Universal's domestic distribution president.
Overseas, Crimson Peak opened to a muted $13.4 million from 55 markets for an early worldwide total of $26.2 million. The film could do big business in del Toro's home country of Mexico, where it doesn't open until Oct. 30. So far, it's faring best in Russia, where it debuted to $2.5 million.
Crimson Peak stars Mia Wasikowska as a young author and newlywed who soon discovers that her charming husband's crumbling mansion is filled with menacing, otherworldly entities that her groom (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister (Jessica Chastain) try to hide. Charlie Hunnam also stars. Crimson Peak was no doubt hurt by mixed reviews and a B- CinemaScore.
The $55 million film is the latest movie produced by Legendary to have problems. Legendary has enjoyed great success as a film financier, but less so when it comes to taking the creative reins.
Christian drama Woodlawn placed No. 9 in its launch, grossing $4.1 million from 1,553 locations for Pure Flix Entertainment.
As awards season heats up, there was a flurry of activity at the specialty box office. In its second weekend, Universal's Steve Jobs expanded into 60 theaters to come in No. 11 with $1.6 million for a solid location average of $25,831. Next weekend, the Steve Jobs biopic rolls out nationwide.
Lenny Abrahamson's Room opened nicely, earning an estimated $120,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $30,000. Adapted by Emma Donoghue from her book of the same name, the A24 title stars Brie Larson as a young mother trapped in a windowless room with her young son (Jacob Tremblay).
One high-profile title that's off to a poor start is Truth, starring Robert Redford as ousted CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as disgraced 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes. The Sony Pictures Classics release opened to $76,646 from six locations in New York and Los Angeles for a theater average of $12,774.
Sony Classics co-president Michael Barker believes Truth is in it for the long haul. "This is one of the most competitive weekends I can ever remember for adult audiences. Plus, the New York area is distracted by baseball playoffs. We've had many pictures that have grown from grosses like this, including Whiplash," he said.
Beasts of No Nation, the first original movie from Netflix, likewise did nominal business in its limited day-and-date theatrical debut. The African war drama, starring Idris Elba and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, grossed $50,699 from 27 theaters in 30 markets for a location average of $1,635. The movie was always going to be a tough sell since it is simultaneously available around the world on the streaming service.
The theatrical run is, in part, designed to boost the film's Oscar prospects. To that end, Beasts did best at the Landmark theater in Los Angeles, a favorite haunt of awards voters.
Bridge of Spies, Room, Beasts of No Nation and Steve Jobs are all critical darlings, while Truth has earned mixed reviews.
Elsewhere, Saturday's live broadcast of The Metropolitan Opera's Otello racked up $1.3 million from more than 900 screens.