Man, things are so bad with box office numbers this weekend that I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m getting ahead of myself to talk about a film that hasn’t even opened yet in the U.S., but is doing better than any film here, right now. I’m talking about the new James Bond film, "Spectre," which doesn’t open in the U.S. until this Friday, but it did open last week in the U.K. to fantastic b.o. numbers.
From its Monday opening through Wednesday last week, it broke every single daily box office record, for any film ever in the U.K. And if it kept up the pace for the rest of the week (Thursday through today; the numbers haven’t been reported yet) "Spectre" will beat out "Skyfall," which has the fifth biggest opening week for any film in the U.K., and could land in the top three biggest U.K openings of all time.
"Skyfall," in the U.S, had a weekend opening off $88 million and expectations are that "Spectre" will come close to that next weekend, or maybe even surpass it by a few million. At this point and with these opening predictions, it’s very possible that "Spectre" will be the second Bond film to gross over a billion dollars worldwide, after "Skyfall."
And Sony, which has released all the Bond films since "Casino Royale," could definitely use some more b.o. hits of late. The big problem for them is that "Spectre" is their last film under their current distribution deal for the Bond films and now there’s literally an auction going on for distribution rights for the next Bond pictures. Already Warners, Paramount and Fox, along with Sony, have all publicly expressed interest in getting the Bond films, and talks are going on right now. But it’s safe to assume that Sony is desperate to keep them. But nothing is ever guaranteed
However, coming back stateside… for one of this weekend’s major releases, "Our Brand is Crisis," the results are dismal. The Sandra Bullock comedy opened with a lousy $3.4 million, making it the worst opening for any film starring Bullock in years. Maybe ever. And this comes after a string of box office mega-hits for the actress, such as "Gravity," "The Heat," "The Blind Side" and "The Proposal" – each grossing a minimum $150 million domestically. And according to box office analyst and film critic Erik Childress, "Crisis" is the 8th straight box office flop in a row for Warners this year, in what has been a truly horrible year for the studio. No doubt heads at the studio are going to start rolling soon, perhaps this week. Someone has to take the blame.
But "Crisis" was possibly doomed from the very beginning. First of all, the film’s middling reviews didn’t help, and marketing never exactly made clear what the film was about, except that it was some sort of political satire; and political satires rarely do well at the box office. Especially one set in South America, for a film targeted at a mass USA audience. What were the filmmakers thinking?
Even worse, the marketing portrayed Bullock as some sort of burned out, cynical "b" word, which turned off many potential viewers who are accustomed to the usual more likable and approachable roles she usually plays. And the film was stuck with a lousy title that didn’t really give a strong idea of just what the film was about. Who’s brand and what crisis, and what does it all mean?
The Bradley Cooper comedy/drama "Burnt" also under-performed, opening with $5 million. But then again, like "Crisis," the marketing never clearly conveyed what the film was about; and even then, if filmgoers knew that it was about an asshole restaurant chef who learns to become a nice, sensitive guy, they couldn’t care less. Add to that the bad reviews, and the fact that, unlike Bullock, Cooper, though he’s been in a few very successful films, such as "American Sniper" and "Silver Linings Playbook, "is not that dependable a box office star.
But it gets worse folks…
The Paramount gorefest zombie comedy, "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse," died an appropriately grisly death at the box office, with only $1.8 million. Once again, according to Childress, that is the lowest b.o. opening ever for any Paramount film that has opened on 1500 screens or more. The audience stayed away in droves, but who cares about zombies in movies today when you have "The Walking Dead" every week pulling in nearly 20 million viewers? Besides, the film sucked anyway which is why Paramount, no doubt, withheld press screenings until the very last moment.
Universal’s "Steve Jobs" dropped nearly 64% from last weekend, meaning that despite rave reviews, word of mouth isn’t that great, or that the people who really wanted to see the film have seen it already. And both "Crimson Peak" and "The Last Witch Hunter" can be safely written off as major flops.
As for the winners… "The Martian," yet again, was the No.1 film this weekend, well in its way to $200 million here in the States and over $223 million overseas. "Goosebumps" came in again in second place for the second week, and looks to be headed for at least $75 million.
Spielberg’s "Bridge of Spies" landed in third place for the third week in a row, doing steady, if not, spectacular business, and looks headed for a domestic $65 million total. It’s already doing solid numbers overseas.
1) The Martian Fox $11,400,000 Total: $182,806,753
2) Goosebumps Sony $10,210,000 Total: $57,104,415
2) Goosebumps Sony $10,210,000 Total: $57,104,415
3) Bridge of Spies BV $8,060,000 Total: $45,202,616
4) Hotel Transylvania 2 Sony $5,830,000 Total: $156,004,480
5) Burnt Wein. $5,038,000
6) The Last Witch Hunter LG/S $4,750,000 Total: $18,612,861
7) Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Par. $3,450,000 Total: $13,569,623
8) Our Brand Is Crisis WB $3,430,000
9) Crimson Peak Uni. $3,110,000 Total: $27,745,980
10) Steve Jobs Uni. $2,580,000 Total: $14,540,683
11) The Intern WB $2,385,000 Total: $68,539,744
12) Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse Par. $1,770,000