'The Martian' Scores Second Largest October Debut Ever with $55.0M Launch; 'Hotel Transylvania 2' a Strong Second with $33.0M; 'Sicario' Solid with $12.1M ExpansionOctober 04, 2015 09:31 AM

by Daniel Garris

Fox's The Martian arrived with a strong estimated first place debut of $55.0 million this weekend. The critically acclaimed Ridley Scott directed 3D sci-fi film starring Matt Damon lived up to its already lofty expectations and claimed the second largest opening weekend performance ever for the month of October. The Martian opened just 1 percent below the $55.79 million debut of October record holder Gravity back in 2013. The comparison is especially impressive given that The Martian didn't have the advantage of higher priced IMAX admissions that Gravity had. The Martian opened 16 percent ahead of the $47.51 million debut of last year's Interstellar (which also had the advantage of higher priced IMAX admissions). An effective advertising campaign, strong critical reviews, the combined drawing power of Scott and Damon and the pre-established fanbase for the novel the film is based on all contributed to the success of The Martian this weekend.

The Martian opened with $18.13 million on Friday (which included an estimated $2.5 million from Thursday evening shows), increased a strong 23 percent on Saturday to gross $22.28 million and is estimated to decline 34.5 percent on Sunday to take in $14.6 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at a very promising 3.03 to 1. The Martian received a strong A rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film is going over just as well with moviegoers as it has with critics. Given both its strong critical reviews and strong early word of mouth, it is highly likely that The Martian will hold up very well throughout the month of October.

Sony's Hotel Transylvania 2 continued to impress with an estimated second place take of $33.0 million. The Adam Sandler led 3D computer animated film from Sony Pictures Animation held up very nicely this weekend, as it was down just 32 percent from last weekend's already stronger than expected launch. In comparison, 2012's Hotel Transylvania fell 36 percent in its second weekend to gross $27.05 million. Hotel Transylvania 2 has grossed $90.54 million through ten days of release. That places the film an impressive 18 percent ahead of the $76.71 million ten-day start of Hotel Transylvania and represents a very nice rebound for both Sandler and Sony from the lackluster performance of Pixels this summer. While it will soon face new competition for family audiences from both Warner's Pan and fellow Sony release Goosebumps, Hotel Transylvania 2 still has a very good chance of continuing to hold up well throughout the month of October, especially with the aid of the approaching Halloween holiday and no new animated films entering the marketplace until Fox's The Peanuts Movie arrives on November 6th.

On the heels of its impressive two-week performance in platform release, Lionsgate's Sicario had a very solid expansion into wide release with an estimated third place take of $12.08 million. The critically acclaimed crime thriller starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin performed in line with expectations. Thanks in part to strong critical reviews and the buzz generated from the film's platform performance; Sicario was able to hold its own in the face of The Martian this weekend. This weekend's performance for Sicario was only 9 percent below the $13.24 million expansion performance of Universal's Everest last weekend. Going forward, Sicario is likely to hold up better than Everest has.

Sicario grossed $4.29 million on Friday, increased 9 percent on Saturday to take in $4.66 million and is estimated to decline 33 percent on Sunday to gross $3.13 million. That gives the film an estimated weekend to Friday ratio of 2.81 to 1. Sicario received a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore.

Warner's The Intern held up nicely in its second weekend with an estimated fourth place take of $12.08 million. The Nancy Meyers directed comedy starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway was down 34 percent from last weekend. In a fall moviegoing season filled with more serious fare thus far, The Intern is appealing to moviegoers in the mood for a comedy and has taken in $36.52 million in ten days. The film is running 9 percent ahead of the $33.47 million ten-day take of 2013's Last Vegas (which fell 32 percent in its second weekend to gross $11.04 million). Expect The Intern to continue to display healthy holding power going forward.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $7.65 million. The young adult sequel from Fox fell 46 percent, as the film continues to understandably display more front-loading than its predecessor did last year. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has grossed $63.24 million in 17 days. That is below expectations and places the film 14 percent behind the $73.56 million 17-day gross of The Maze Runner.

Meanwhile, Sony's The Walk was off to a soft start this weekend in moderate release. The critically acclaimed 3D Robert Zemeckis directed film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt only managed an estimated $1.55 million from 448 exclusive IMAX and PLF locations. That gave The Walk a per-location average of just $3,460 for the frame. The Walk has grossed $1.97 million through five days of release. Despite strong critical reviews, The Walk is clearly feeling the negative effects of facing very tough competition and not having the most mainstream friendly concept to begin with. The Walk will hope to build momentum off of its strong critical reviews when it goes into wide release next weekend, but that will be easier said than done after this weekend's performance.

Weekend domestic gross

WeekendTop 10 GrossChg. LW%Total GrossChg. LW% Top movie of the week
40 (Oct 02 - Oct 04)$0-100%$0-100%Cartel Land
10 (Mar 06 - Mar 08)$72,251,925-19%$86,989,495-15%CHAPPiE
35 (Aug 28 - Aug 30)$63,160,916-26%$87,763,609-18%Straight Outta Compton
36 (Sep 04 - Sep 06)$60,032,495-5%$90,476,1333%War Room
17 (Apr 24 - Apr 26)$80,145,066-26%$97,118,652-19%Furious 7
05 (Jan 30 - Feb 01)$80,089,127-41%$100,338,212-36%American Sniper
37 (Sep 11 - Sep 13)$81,621,35936%$102,275,71913%The Perfect Guy
09 (Feb 27 - Mar 01)$88,810,278-14%$102,832,789-11%Focus (2015)
34 (Aug 21 - Aug 23)$85,356,247-34%$106,666,733-28%Straight Outta Compton
38 (Sep 18 - Sep 20)$96,138,93218%$112,679,74110%Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
08 (Feb 20 - Feb 22)$103,802,091-47%$115,332,590-45%Fifty Shades of Grey
16 (Apr 17 - Apr 19)$108,634,824-12%$119,404,513-9%Furious 7
02 (Jan 09 - Jan 11)$104,708,370-17%$125,338,635-19%Taken 3
11 (Mar 13 - Mar 15)$115,580,19060%$130,002,87649%Cinderella (2015)
12 (Mar 20 - Mar 22)$117,323,6182%$130,036,4540%The Divergent Series: Insurgent
15 (Apr 10 - Apr 12)$123,422,897-43%$131,021,667-41%Furious 7
19 (May 08 - May 10)$119,680,542-47%$131,163,817-44%Avengers: Age of Ultron
32 (Aug 07 - Aug 09)$113,252,833-17%$132,026,560-10%Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
23 (Jun 05 - Jun 07)$122,790,825-6%$132,526,447-4%Spy (2015)
27 (Jul 03 - Jul 05)$127,004,488-27%$135,304,135-26%Inside Out (2015)
39 (Sep 25 - Sep 27)$125,667,87831%$137,668,63522%Hotel Transylvania 2
22 (May 29 - May 31)$131,136,807-9%$138,466,031-10%San Andreas
31 (Jul 31 - Aug 02)$136,167,805-2%$146,276,435-3%Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
33 (Aug 14 - Aug 16)$129,704,20915%$148,116,90812%Straight Outta Compton
13 (Mar 27 - Mar 29)$139,905,37419%$149,591,05215%Home (2015)
06 (Feb 06 - Feb 08)$132,753,77466%$149,816,98649%The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
30 (Jul 24 - Jul 26)$138,375,788-23%$151,032,829-22%Ant-Man
01 (Jan 02 - Jan 04)$125,847,309--$153,826,448--The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
21 (May 22 - May 24)$144,619,728-18%$154,230,052-16%Tomorrowland
04 (Jan 23 - Jan 25)$136,480,820-24%$157,464,629-22%American Sniper
20 (May 15 - May 17)$175,450,24247%$183,839,13640%Pitch Perfect 2
26 (Jun 26 - Jun 28)$174,073,731-27%$183,850,489-26%Jurassic World
29 (Jul 17 - Jul 19)$178,681,351-12%$193,635,116-10%Ant-Man
03 (Jan 16 - Jan 18)$178,963,57071%$201,244,11161%American Sniper
07 (Feb 13 - Feb 15)$196,187,39248%$211,286,94341%Fifty Shades of Grey
28 (Jul 10 - Jul 12)$202,438,83459%$214,566,41659%Minions
14 (Apr 03 - Apr 05)$216,669,85955%$223,837,31550%Furious 7
18 (May 01 - May 03)$224,022,810180%$232,805,469140%Avengers: Age of Ultron
25 (Jun 19 - Jun 21)$238,740,396-10%$247,780,432-9%Jurassic World
24 (Jun 12 - Jun 14)$266,035,144117%$273,577,162106%Jurassic World