Box Office: Sandra Bullock's 'Our Brand Is Crisis' DOA With $3.4M; 'Burnt' Scalded
Warner Bros. marketing chief Sue Kroll speaks out in support of the filmmakers and Bullock while conceding the movie's campaign and concept didn't connect with audiences; weekend revenue hits lowest point of the year to date.
Talk about a bloodbath.
Halloween weekend saw three more adult offerings get badly burned at the North American box office, allowing Fox's The Martian to stay happily docked at No. 1 in its fifth weekend with $11.4 million for a domestic total of $182.8 million and worldwide cume of $428.4 million. Sending more chills down Hollywood's spine, overall revenue came in at roughly $74 million, the lowest showing of the year to date and one of the worst in recent times.
Warner Bros.' political dramedy Our Brand Is Crisis opened to just $3.4 million from 2,202 theaters, coming in No. 7 and marking the smallest nationwide start of Sandra Bullock's career. The previous worst was Two If By Sea, which debuted to $4.7 million in 1996.
Burnt, John Wells' film starring Bradley Cooper as a chef trying to redeem himself, also got scalded. The Weinstein Co. release opened to $5 million from 3,003 locations to place No. 5 behind The Martian and holdovers Goosebumps, Bridge of Spies and Hotel Transylvania 2.
Rathergate drama Truth, starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford, fared miserably as Sony Pictures Classics expanded the awards hopeful into 1,120 theaters. The movie took in $900,914 for a total $1.2 million.
And the new movie targeting the Halloween crowd, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, didn't even crack the top 10. The comedy-horror offering grossed $1.8 million from 1,509 theaters to come in No. 12. As with Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, many cinema owners refused to carry the film because of Paramount's bold deal with AMC and Cineplex to make the genre titles available earlier than usual on VOD. Paramount believes it can make up the difference with strong digital sales.
Ghost Dimension and Scouts Guide are faring much better overseas, earning $37.8 million and $13.5 million to date.
Our Brand Is Crisis, also starring Billy Bob Thornton, was a passion project for Bullock and her Gravity co-star George Clooney, who produced the film with Grant Heslov. It has been ravaged by critics, while audiences gave it a C+ CinemaScore. Warners co-financed the $28 million movie with Participant Media and RatPac-Dune Entertainment, so its financial exposure is mitigated.
"The weekend results for Our Brand Is Crisis are upsetting. The film was truly a collaboration between the studio and the filmmakers, and Sandy's performance is terrific in this film. We cherish our relationship with her. Ultimately, neither the concept of the story nor our campaign connected with moviegoers," Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing and distribution Sue Kroll said. It’s rare for Kroll to comment on box office.
Warners certainly had reason to keep Clooney and Bullock happy after Gravity, released in October 2013. Inspired by true events, Our Brand Is Crisis stars Bullock and Thornton as political operatives trying to influence the Bolivian presidential election. In a case of gender swap, Bullock convinced the producers to switch things up and make her character — based on Clinton denizen and political operative James Carville — a woman.
Our Brand Is Crisis means more bad news for Warners., which has suffered a string of misses, including Pan and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Burnt, likewise skewered by reviewers and earning a B- CinemaScore, cost $20 million to produce. The indie film also stars Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Omar Sy, Matthew Rhys, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman and Emma Thompson. TWC's financial exposure is reduced by the fact that a chunk of the budget was financed via foreign presales.
"We were hoping for more, obviously, but we won't get hurt on the movie. And it might do better overseas because of its strong international cast. We heard that in the middle of the country, people were having trouble with the accents. It starts rolling out in Europe next week," said TWC distribution chief Erik Lomis.
Sony's Goosebumps placed No. 2 with a $10.2 million for a domestic total of $57 million and global cume of $75.6 million. And fellow Sony title Hotel Transylvania sequel came in No. 4 in its sixth weekend with $5.8 million for a pleasing domestic tally of $156 million. Overseas, it impressed with $33.6 million to jump the $200 million mark internationally, ending Sunday with a foreign tally of $217.6 million and global haul of $373.6 million
Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks, continues to be one of the few adult offerings to work, coming in No. 3 with $8.1 million for a domestic total of $45.2 million. DreamWorks co-financed the Cold War thriller with Participant. Overseas, the historical drama took enjoys an early total of $12.3 million for a worldwide cume of $57.5 million.
Elsewhere, Universal's Steve Jobs tumbled an estimated 64 percent in its second weekend in wide release. Danny Boyle's critically acclaimed biopic, starring Michael Fassbender, took in $2.6 million from 2,493 theaters for a domestic total of $14.5 million. The movie's soft performance has surprised many, considering strong reviews and a high-profile tour on the fall festival circuit as awards season commences.
If there was any bright news for new players, it was overseas, where Spectre opened to $80.4 million, including a record-shattering $83.4 million in the U.K. The 24th James Bond installment opens Nov. 6 in North America.