Box-Office Oddities of 2015: Did You Know George Lucas Had Another Movie Out This Year?
A look at the under-the-radar busts and Hollywood’s dubious achievements as THR goes beyond the headlines.
This story first appeared in the Jan. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
One Weekend, Two Busts, Same Producer
Jason Blum couldn’t have been feeling truly outrageous during the Oct. 23-25 weekend. The superproducer had hits The Gift and The Visit in 2015, but his teen-girl TV adaptation Jem and the Holograms (Universal) debuted to $1.4 million, the worst start of all time for a major-studio release. Also that weekend, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension saw the lowest debut ($8.1 million) of any film in the franchise after most theaters refused to carry it because of an early VOD release.
Opera Was More Popular Than The Walk
During the Oct. 2-4 weekend, Robert Zemeckis’ much-heralded high-wire spectacle The Walk opened to a paltry $1.6 million in 448 Imax and premium large-format theaters — a major disappointment for Sony chief Tom Rothman, who predicted a hit and awards buzz. Adding insult to injury, an Oct. 3 live transmission of The Metropolitan Opera’s Il Trovatore earned more: $2 million from 900 screens.
George Lucas Did Make a Movie in 2015 — and It Flopped
Months before Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first in the series not masterminded by Lucas, began breaking records, Disney released Strange Magic, a bizarre animated movie co-written by Lucas that the studio picked up in its $4.1 billion purchase of Lucasfilm. Magic debuted to $5.5 million in late January, one of the worst showings for a Disney film issued in 3,000-plus theaters, and topped out at $13.6 million worldwide — about what Force Awakens generates daily in Milk Duds sales.