By Trey Williams, MarketWatch
Everett Collection Inc.
Even the mystique of Steve Jobs couldn’t breathe life into an overall slow weekend at the box office, as well-established films led the pack.
Indeed, the movie “Steve Jobs,” which expanded to 2,493 theaters this weekend after its limited release earlier this month, fell well short of analysts’ expectations, despite the Oscar buzz over the film that follows the Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -2.26% co-founder through three product launches.
20th Century Fox’s /zigman2/quotes/207816609/composite FOXA -2.81% space epic “The Martian,” starring Matt Damon, came in at No. 1 over the weekend. The Ridley Scott-directed sci-fi(ish) flick earned an estimated $15.9 million in its fourth weekend in theaters, based on studio estimates released by Rentrak.
The film, based on Andy Weir’s novel of a NASA astronaut fighting to survive on Mars, also stars Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kate Mara. Having already pulled in $154.8 million through Friday, according to Box Office Mojo, the Oscar-buzzing film is set to make its China debut next month, where it should perform well; the China National Space Administration plays a major role in the film.
“Goosebumps” continues to perform well at the box office. The Jack Black-led film pulled in $15.5 million for Sony Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/208567357/composite SNE -1.20% Sony Pictures over the weekend, enough for the adaptation of R.L. Stein’s thrilling children’s book series to finish No. 2 after opening to $23.7 million last weekend.
Walt Disney Co.’s /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -1.00% Cold-War drama “Bridge of Spies,” starring Tom Hanks, finished at No. 3, garnering $11.3 million in its second weekend. The film, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Joel and Ethan Coen, has sparked award-potential chatter as well.
“The Last Witch Hunter,” starring Vin Diesel, slightly underperformed expectations in its opening weekend. The film brought in $10.8 million for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
Michael Fassbender’s Oscar-worthy take on the polarizing Steve Jobs fell flat of expectations too. Forecast to take the No. 1 spot in its wide release, after showing in just 60 theaters last weekend, “Steve Jobs” is seen in seventh place at the box office, earning $7.2 million for Comcast Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA -0.43% Universal Studios. However, Box Office analyst Phil Contrino said whether the film can build interest is far more important, given the number of films about Jobs in recent years. The film was shown at just 60 theaters during its limited release that began Oct. 9.
“Steve Jobs,” came in just behind Viacom Inc.-owned [ Paramount Pictures’ “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.” The film, which brought in an estimated $8.2 million on its debut weekend, has been criticized within the industry over its experimental release deal with AMC Entertainment /zigman2/quotes/200235402/composite AMC -3.87% and Canada’s Cineplex Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201832697/delayed CA:CGX +0.06% , which is challenging traditional theatrical release windows. The film is being made available for video on demand just 17 days after its theater debut, and some theaters have refused to show the movie as a result.
Bill Murray’s “Rock the Kasbah,” from independent film company Open Road, and Universal’s “Jem and the Holograms” also debuted this weekend, but weren’t able to crack the top 10 ten films at the box office. “Rock the Kasbah” pulled in $1.5 million, while “Jem and the Holograms” brought in $1.3 million.