Weekend Box Office: ‘Goosebumps’ Leads A Bunch Of Underperforming New Releases

The Martian narrowly missed repeating its number one at the box office three weeks in a row this week, as Goosebumps came out on top with $23.5 million to The Martian‘s $21.5 million. If that sounds a little low for a number-one movie that’s because it was, with none of the four new releases doing spectacular box, and Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak even being called a flop.

“It’s like a literal traffic jam on the freeway and everyone is just jockeying for position,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “Every weekend it seems like four new movies are opening and there’s a cumulative effect of adding movie after movie. The box office pie can only be split so many ways.” [Variety]

I included that quote solely because it’s so mystifying. Can anyone tell me what a “literal traffic jam on the freeway” looks like? Is it like jam on toast, but a freeway? “You see, movies are like cars, but also like horses, and pie, and that’s why many of this week’s releases didn’t do very well.”

Anyway, moving down the list, the Hanks/Spielberg joint Bridge of Spies grossed $15.38 million, which isn’t spectacular, but was “on par with pre-release analyst expectations,” and because of good reviews and Oscar buzz, people expect it to “remain part of the conversation in coming weeks.” That cost $40 million to make.

The make-up of Bridge of Spies’ audience was 53% male with 89% over 25; 43% alone were over 50. Disney’s aim here is to keep this A CinemaScore film on screen as long as possible during the fourth quarter, similar to the way the studio handled Lincoln and War Horse. [Deadline]

Guillermo del Toro’s don’t-call-it-a-horror-movie gothic romance, Crimson Peak, fared a little worse, at “a much-lower than expected” $12.85 million; cost a little more, at $55 million after tax breaks; and reviewed a lot worse, at 68% on RottenTomatoes (and an uninspiring B- Cinemascore). All of which is why it has people calling it a flop, despite not doing that much worse than Bridge of Spies on numbers alone.

The studio believes that “Crimson Peak” struggled to break out in part because of the wealth of fare such as “Bridge of Spies” and “Sicario” aimed at older crowds. It also was more of a romance than a straight scare machine, which may have disappointed ticket buyers looking for a more traditional horror film. [Variety]

It will surely be lamented, on account of Guillermo del Toro is a supremely likable human being who clearly takes a lot of pleasure in the process. At the same time, I saw Crimson Peak, and for as incredible as the production design was, it was kind of repetitive. I hope for more movies like Crimson Peak, yet not exactly like Crimson Peak.

Among the new big titles this weekend, Crimson Peak spent the most on TV spots with $18.6M. Disney/DreamWorks shelled out $15.6M per iSpot for Bridge of Spies. The most expensive TV spots for Crimson Peak (in excess of $2M) occurred during NFL Football, NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s Castle. [Deadline]

Last of the new releases was Woodlawn, a film from Pureflix (of God’s Not Dead fame) that combines football and desegregation into an ad for prayer in schools (starring Sean Astin as a high school football chaplain in ’70s Alabama). That earned $4.1 million from 1,553 locations, which was called “stronger-than-expected.”

That’s still less than half God’s Not Dead‘s $9.2 million opening (on the way to $62 million worldwide). Of course, Christian movies with a direct reference to God, Jesus, or Heaven in the title tend to do better. In terms of Christian football movies, Woodlawn’s $4.1 million was behind When the Game Stands Tall‘s $8.3 million opening (on the way to $30 million) but ahead of Facing the Giants‘  $1.3 million (on the way to $10.2 million). Will it join the pantheon of all-time Christian football movies? Only time will tell, but I love that that’s a genre.

This week brings us Jem and the Holograms, Rock the Kasbah, The Last Witch Hunter, and Paranormal Activity: Whatever Number This One Is (aka The Ghost Dimension). Normally this late in the year we’d start seeing some Oscar movies, but these titles are making it feel like March.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Goosebumps $23,500,000 $6,712 $23,500,000
2 The Martian $21,500,000 (-42%) $5,809 $143,795,000
3 Bridge of Spies $15,380,000 $5,471 $15,380,000
4 Crimson Peak $12,846,000 $4,305 $12,846,000
5 Hotel Transylvania 2 $12,250,000 (-40%)
$3,467 $136,409,000
6 Pan $5,860,000 (-62%) $1,667 $25,738,000
7 The Intern $5,405,000 (-38%) $1,997 $58,730,000
8 Sicario $4,500,000 (-41%) $2,113 $34,662,000
9 Woodlawn $4,100,000 $2,640 $4,100,000
10 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials $2,750,000 (-49%) $1,398 $75,411,000

[via ScreenCrush]