Box Office: 'Martian,' 'Goosebumps' in Close Battle for No. 1; 'Steve Jobs' Hits Major Glitch

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox
'The Martian'

Elsewhere, there's little pre-Halloween love for 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' and 'The Last Witch Hunter,' while 'Jem and the Holograms' and Bill Murray's 'Rock the Kasbah' are total wipeouts.

In a surprise pre-Halloween twist, Ridley Scott's The Martian and family entry Goosebumps are in a close race for No. 1 despite a glut of new offerings, including the nationwide expansion of Steve Jobs.

Projections show The Martian — which won the Friday race with $4.4 million — and Goosebumps grossing in the $14 million-$15 million range for the weekend. That's a major victory for The Martian, considering the Fox space epic is in its fourth weekend, while Sony's Goosebumps is in its second.

The news is bleak for the new offerings. Hopes were high for Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs, starring Michael Fassbender as the iconic innovator, but the Universal film may gross $7.2 million from 2,493 theaters as it rolls out everywhere following a limited release in select theaters over the past two weekends.

Those backing the critical darling had wanted to land somewhere in the teens, but are still counting on a long run throughout awards season. Aaron Sorkin wrote the adapted script for Steve Jobs, which also stars Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels.

In terms of other movies written by Sorkin, Moneyball opened to $19.5 million in late September 2011, while The Social Network debuted to $22.4 million. Both of those movies launched nationwide, however, versus beginning in a platform run.

Steve Jobs could come in No. 7 for the weekend behind The Martian, Goosebumps, Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, The Last Witch Hunter, Hotel Transylvania 2 and Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension.

Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks, is holding up particularly well in its second outing thanks to older adults. The Cold War thriller is tipped to earn $10 million-$12 million, putting it at No. 3 for DreamWorks, Disney and Participant Media.

Vin Diesel's The Last Witch Hunter is off to a poor start considering its production budget of $75 million to $80 million. The movie, starring Diesel as an immortal witch hunter who attempts to stop a plague from destroying New York City, is on course to gross $9 million-$10 million from 3,082 theaters for a fourth-place finish. Lionsgate had banked on a debut in the mid- to high-teens.

Early on Friday, Ghost Dimension looked like it was off to a good start for a possible $11 million-plus weekend. That wouldn't have been a bad result, since the horror film is only playing in 1,656 theaters, compared to nearly 3,000 locations for the last Paranormal Activity film. Many cinema owners are refusing to play the film because of a bold deal between Paramount, AMC and Canada's Cineplex to make it available in homes earlier than usual.

However, Ghost Dimension quickly fell off and is now projected to earn roughly $7 million for the weekend, by far the lowest showing of the series.

Universal's Jem and the Holograms and Barry Levinson's Rock the Kasbah, starring Bill Murray, won't even the crack the top 10 in their debuts.

Rock the Kasbah stars Murray as Richie Lanz, a rock manager past his prime who accompanies a performer (Zooey Deschanel) on a USO tour in war-ridden Afghanistan. When she bails, he comes across a young singer (Leem Lubany) who could be the biggest discovery of his career, and arranges for her to appear on Afghan Star, the equivalent of American Idol.

The comedy movie may not clear $1.6 million from 2,012 theaters in the worst nationwide start for a film starring Murray. It's also a low point for distributor Open Road Films. Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson and Danny McBride also star in Rock the Kasbah.

Teenage girls are rejecting John M. Chu's Jem and the Holograms, based on the popular '80s cartoon. The live-action movie is projecting a $1.1 million weekend from 2,413 theaters — the worst opening of all time for a major studio release going out in 2,000 or more theaters. Rock the Kasbah will likewise mark one of the worst starts ever for a wide opening.

If there's any solace, it's that Universal spent $5 million to make the film, starring Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayley Kiyoko, Ryan Guzman, Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis.

Oct. 23, 12:45 p.m. Updated.

Oct. 23, 10:30 p.m. Updated.

Oct. 24, 8 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers.

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