Sunday, November 8, 2015

James Bond And Snoopy Bring Some Much Needed Life Back To The Box Office

After two weeks of dismal business, two stalwarts of pop culture returned to movie theaters for solid sums of cash that brought the box office roaring back to life. Taking the number one spot was Spectre, the latest James Bond adventure which grossed $73 million for the weekend. That's down from the previous 007 adventure, Skyfall, which grossed $88 million three years ago, although that one had far better reviews and the buzz stemming from the franchise celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. It also managed do 9% better than 2008 Daniel Craig 007 film Quantum of Solace, though Spectre lagged behind that feature in terms of attendance.

While Spectre obviously brought the evil titular organization back into the 007 fray for the first time in over 40 years, its extensive period of dormancy in the James Bond franchise meant the name had very little brand name recognition now for casual moviegoers, and the lack of a clearly notable new bad guy didn't help matters. Luckily, the Bond franchise is one that has cemented a massive place in pop culture and anytime he pops up again on-screen audiences are likely to come back for more of his antics. Look for Spectre to likely play similarly to Quantum in the weeks ahead and do about 2.5 time its opening weekend, which would result in Spectre closing its domestic run with $182 million, a 40% decrease from the massive $300+ million sum of Skyfall.

In second place was The Peanuts Movie with $45.0 million, which means it's tied with Horton Hears A Who! for the biggest opening weekend for a non-Ice Age feature from Blue Sky Studios. In terms of other animated family movies opening in the first weekend of November, it was about on par with the $46 million debut of MegaMind, slightly below the $48 million bow of Wreck-It Ralph and quite a distance beneath the $56 million opening of last years Big Hero 6. In terms of other family films resurrecting beloved cartoon characters of yesteryear in CGI, it was below the $66 million opening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but about on par with the debuts of the first two Alvin And The Chipmunks and noticeably above the opening of the first Smurfs film.

Advertisements for The Peanuts Movie didn't show off an earth-shatteringly important story or gags that could get the movie to the opening weekend levels of animated family movie juggernauts from PIXAR or Illumination Entertainment, but luckily, Charlie Brown and his pals have retained a mighty presence in pop culture over the years (the 49 year old Great Pumpkin special just last month notched a 2.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic), so not only were audiences familiar with them, but the prospect of seeing them in a medium they had previously not inhabited was one that seemed appealing for many moviegoers. With The Good Dinosaur arriving over Thanksgiving, The Peanuts Movie really only has three weeks to make the majority of its money, but it should get past $150 million in its domestic run, a great gross and a rare victory for that o'l blockhead Charlie Brown.

Despite the arrival of new blockbuster Spectre, The Martian had an impressive dip this weekend, only losing a minuscule 20%  for a $9.3 million weekend haul and a $197 million total domestic gross so far. Man, this one just keeps on chugging, and at this rate, it's likely it'll still be making sizable cash once Thanksgiving rolls around, which is the weekend where it was originally supposed to debut. Also showing strong stamina was Goosebumps, which fared excellently against new family film The Peanuts Movie by only losing 29% for a $7 million gross this weekend and a total domestic cume of $66.5 million.

Rounding out the top five was Bridge of Spies, having its third straight weekend where it dipped under 30%, losing only 27% this go around to add another $6 million to its leggy domestic run for a total domestic gross so far of $54.7 million. Last weekends newcomers were nowhere near as fortunate in terms of box office staying power, with Burnt losing 40% for a meager $3 million sum and a 10 day gross of $10.2 million. Our Brand Is Crisis was just outside the top ten in eleventh place with an anemic $1.5 million gross this weekend, a 53% drop from last weekend for a pathetic ten day haul of only $6 million.

Lots of hustle and bustle going on in the world of limited releases this weekend, with four notable newbies and a number of holdovers trying to find box office glory. Chef among these new releases was Spotlight, which grossed an excellent $302,276 for the weekend, resulting in a per theater average of $60,455, the third best of the year behind Steve Jobs and Sicario. Brooklyn also found success this weekend with a great haul of $181,000 and a per theater average of $36,200. Alas, not everyone can find triumph, as Trumbo crashed and burned in limited release with only $77,229 from five locations, resulting in a per theater average of $15,446. This isn't a Pan-level failure, but it is mighty disappointing and likely means the release won't see a major theater expansion in the weeks to come.

Miss You Already was the newest film from Roadside Attractions to go out in 300+ theaters on opening weekend, a tactic that worked for their summertime features like Love & Mercy and Mr. Holmes. This new Drew Barrymore/Toni Collette film didn't fare nearly as well, only grossing $550,000 from 384 locations for a $1,432 per theater average. Meanwhile, Suffragette expanded to 222 locations to solid results, amassing $3,509 per theater for a weekend haul of $779,000. Even more impressive was Room, which managed to add 38 theaters this weekend and actually had its per theater average not budge downward from last weekend. Not too shabby for either release.

Finally, it should be noted that Steve Jobs lost over 2000 theaters this weekend and further collapsed, losing 69% for an $823,000 weekend and a total domestic gross of $16.6 million. That's a better dip than most films that lose over 2000 theaters, and it has now surpassed the gross of the Ashton Kutcher Steve Jobs film, but that's the only good news you can really pluck from this surprise box office dud.

The top 12 this weekend grossed $155.6 million, a 6% increase from last year when Big Hero 6 and Interstellar ruled the roost.

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