Faith, trust and pixie dust couldn’t save Pan from a disastrous first weekend.
The $150 million Peter Pan origin story brought in only $15.5 million at the box office for third place, while space epic The Martian claimed No. 1 again, according to tracking firm Rentrak.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund and newcomer Levi Miller as the boy who wouldn’t grow up, Pan was plagued by negative media coverage going into its opening, after being pushed back from a July release date and earning criticism for casting white actress Rooney Mara as Native American princess Tiger Lily. Joe Wright’s Neverland reimagining was also panned by critics, scrounging only 23% positive reviews on aggregate site RottenTomatoes.com and a discouraging 53% approval from filmgoers.
“There were a lot of things going against it and that all culminated in this release date,” says Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “The family-film marketplace is always hungry for entertainment, but coming against a very formidable foe (in Hotel Transylvania 2), that may have been part of the reason” it disappointed.
After scoring the second-best October opening ever last weekend, Martian exceeded expectations with an out-of-this-world $37 million this week, blasting its total to $108.7 million so far. The feel-good Mars drama is bolstered by Oscar talk for director Ridley Scott and Matt Damon’s winning turn as an astronaut stranded on the Red Planet, as well as strong reviews from critics (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and moviegoers (94% approval).
“Audiences are just walking out blown away by what they saw,” Dergarabedian says. With a dip of only 32%, “that’s a tiny drop for a movie that opened that big. It continues to be one of the films that everybody has to see.”
In second place, Transylvania continued to offer family-friendly frights with $20.3 million, bringing its three-week tally to an impressive $116.8 million. Featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez and Mel Brooks, the animated sequel is pacing ahead of its predecessor, which spooked up $102.1 million its first three weeks in fall 2012 and finished with $148.3 million.
Rounding out the top five, The Intern and Sicario nabbed fourth and fifth place with $8.7 million and $7.4 million, respectively. Expanding to more than 2,500 theaters after a limited run, Robert Zemeckis’ high-wire showcase The Walk strung together a lousy $3.7 million ($6.4 million total) for seventh, while Everest finished in ninth with $3 million ($38.2 million total).
Both Walk and Everest are visual spectacles that opened in IMAX 3-D before going nationwide, and have so far pulled in lackluster numbers. They “had somewhat innovative roads to their wide release, which really showcase what those movies are about,” Dergarabedian says. Moving to regular theaters, “some of that magic was lost. That giant-screen immersive experience was the draw.”
Meanwhile, Danny Boyle’s awards hopeful Steve Jobs was robust as expected its first weekend. Playing in just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, the voluble tech drama written by Aaron Sorkin earned $521,000 with a per-screen average of $130,000. Starring Michael Fassbender as the late Apple co-founder, Jobs expands nationwide Oct. 23.