Box-Office Surprise: 'Steve Jobs' Performing on Par with Ashton Kutcher's 'Jobs'

Michael Fassbender in 'Steve Jobs', Ashton Kutcher in 'Jobs'
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Danny Boyle's 'Steve Jobs' has proved a major disappointment despite the backing of a major Hollywood studio and strong reviews; 'Jobs' was an indie film from a first-time producer, released in 2013.

In a surprise twist, Steve Jobs and Ashton Kutcher's Jobs have comparable performances at the domestic box office.

Hopes were high for Steve Jobs, directed by Danny Boyle from an adapted script by Aaron Sorkin and starring Michael Fassbender as the iconic Apple co-founder. Universal scooped up the Scott Rudin-produced project in late 2014 after Sony had qualms about going forward with the $30 million film when Leonardo DiCaprio and then Christian Bale passed.

But the movie has proved a major box-office disappointment after a promising start in New York and Los Angeles in early October. In its first weekend in nationwide release, Steve Jobs came in below expectations with $7.1 million. In August 2013, Jobs — likewise considered a disappointment — earned $6.7 million when opening nationwide.

Jobs held up slightly better in its sophomore outing, falling 57 percent to $2.9 million, while Steve Jobs fell 62 percent in its second weekend in wide release to $2.6 million.

By the end of its second weekend in a nationwide release, the 2013 biopic had earned $12 million domestically. Steve Jobs finished its second weekend with $14.6 million, including the $2.2 million earned in its limited release.

Jobs topped out at $16.1 million domestically and $19.8 million internationally for a global total of $35.9 million.

It's clear Steve Jobs will post a higher lifetime gross, but no one expected the two to be so close. Not only does the former have the backing of a major Hollywood studio, but it has been embraced by critics, who skewered the 2013 biopic.

"Often, sophisticated, intellectually charged movies like Steve Jobs have a tough time gaining huge acceptance by a general audience — they play well in the major cities and among the intelligentsia and then have a tougher time gaining acceptance in wide release," said Rentrak's Paul Dergarabedian. "That said, it's a great movie, and its box-office performance should not impact its Oscar prospects. After all, it's the Oscars, not the People's Choice Awards."

Distributed by Open Road Films, Kutcher's Jobs was penned by newcomer Matt Whiteley and produced by Mark Hulme, a Texas businessman who had never made a movie. Michael Stern directed the $12 million film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

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