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Weekend Estimates: The Martian Orbits Gravity’s Record

October 4th, 2015

The Martian

Just a week after Hotel Transylvania 2 broke September’s weekend record, The Martian has a shot at setting a new mark for October, although it’s going to be a challenge. Fox is projecting the sci-fi thriller will make $55 million this weekend, just a fraction behind Gravity’s $55.8 million debut two years ago this weekend. There’s just a sliver of a chance that The Martian will take the record, but it would take a great performance on Sunday.

Fox’s daily estimates for the film are $18.125 million on Friday, $22.275 million on Saturday (up 23%) and $14.6 million on Sunday (down 34%). By way of comparison, Gravity’s opening weekend was made up of $17.484 million on Friday, $23.001 million on Saturday (up 32%), and $15.299 million on Sunday (down 33%). To break the record, The Martian would need around $15.4 million on Sunday, a decline of 31% from Saturday. That’s not impossible, but it would be a surprise, particularly with bad weather in the East hitting cinema attendance.

Even if it doesn’t quite break the record, The Martian is off to an excellent start, and critical and word-of-mouth acclaim, plus a slightly older demographic than typical sci-fi fare, will most likely translate into a long run at the box office. A total in excess of $200 million seems assured, with $250 million a possibility.

In second place, Hotel Transylvania 2 will earn around $33 million, for a total of $90.5 million after two weekends. Its second-weekend decline of 32% compares favorably to Hotel Transylvania 2’s 36% decline in its second weekend.

Sicario expanded to 2,620 theaters this weekend after a couple of weeks in limited release, and it will take third place overall with an impressive $12.1 million. This is another film that’s benefiting from appealing to a slightly older demographic, and it looks as though it could have impressive legs. Traffic is perhaps the most obvious comparison film, and it went on to make $124 million domestically after a similar start. That might be a high target for Sicario, but $100 million seems a possibility at this stage.

In the face of good weekends from The Martian and Sicario, The Walk is the movie that misses out this weekend. It is projected to earn $1.55 million from 448 large screen theaters, and won’t make it into the top 10. That’s a hugely disappointing result for a film that has excellent reviews and is an impressive technical achievement. Perhaps it will pick up some business when it expands into more theaters, and it could have some legs internationally, but right now it looks like a costly failure. Opening against The Martian was clearly an error.

In limited release, two films that have reported so far are projected to have theater averages over $10,000: He Named Me Malala should earn around $56,000 from four venues, and continues Fox’s good weekend. This Changes Everything, a documentary from Abramorama is projected to pick up $12,700 from a single theaters.

- Weekend estimates
- Biggest October weekends at the box office
- The Martian comps
- Sicario comps
- The Walk comps

Bruce Nash,

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Martian, The Walk, Sicario, He Named Me Malala, This Changes Everything