“Interstellar” didn’t fly as far domestically as early estimates suggested.
Christopher Nolan’s space epic fell short of distributor Paramount Pictures’ $50 million projections, pulling in $47.5 million instead. Going into the week, Paramount expected the film to do between $50 million to $55 million in its opening weekend.
“Interstellar” debuted in a few hundred Imax theaters and theaters with film projection on Tuesday before expanding to 3,561 last weekend. Its total for its first six days in theaters also had to be revised downward. It stands at $49.7 million, not $52.1 million as originally reported.
Domestically, “Big Hero 6” was the weekend’s highest grossing film with $56 million.
Overseas, “Interstellar” was the weekend’s number one film, pulling in $83 million. When final numbers were tallied, the picture brightened for the film, which was originally expected to generate $80 million internationally. Warner Bros. is handling “Interstellar’s” foreign roll out. The picture opened in most major foreign markets, save for China (Nov. 12 opening), Japan (Nov. 22) and Venezuela (Dec. 5).
Studio rivals said privately that Paramount was being overly ambitious in its predictions that “Interstellar” would hit $50 million, but the studio countered that critics were comparing its results with the wrong pictures. Because of its science-fiction pedigree and its appeal to older audiences, the studio said “Interstellar” would only experience a modest drop in its Sunday box office, similar to “Prometheus'” 15% dip and “Inception’s” 12% fall. However, “Interstellar” ended up falling 33% from its Saturday total to $12.3 million.
“Interstellar” cost $165 million to produce, so it will need to be a major international success in order to turn a profit. The story of a team of astronauts seeking out a new planet for humanity has earned mixed responses from critics, some of whom hail it as visionary, others who decry it for sinking under the weight of its ambitions.
Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore told Variety on Sunday that he expects the picture will be a watercooler event that draws crowds through the Thanksgiving holiday. Nolan’s “Inception” also polarized viewers, but enjoyed a strong multiple on its $62.8 million opening weekend, closing its domestic run with $292.6 million.