Box Office: ‘Last Witch Hunter,’ ‘Rock the Kasbah’ Flop in Lackluster Weekend

The Last Witch Hunter
Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

UPDATE — Moviegoers are shunning five new titles — “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Rock the Kasbah,” “Jem and the Holograms,” the sixth “Paranormal Activity” and an expanded “Steve Jobs” — in favor of the tried and true this weekend.

Late afternoon estimates showed “Steve Jobs” at well under $10 million while “Jem” will finish under $3 million and “Rock the Kasbah” heading for a minsicule $1.5 million.

Early Friday estimates showed Fox’s fourth weekend of “The Martian” with a slight edge on Sony’s second weekend of “Goosebumps” with about $14 million each for the frame. Matt Damon’s astronaut adventure looks likely to take in as much as $4.5 million on Friday, its 22nd day in multiplexes, and wind up the weekend with a $165 million domestic total.

Of the new arrivals, “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” is performing best. It’s in line with expectations and should finish in the $9 million to $10.2 million range as the found-footage scarefest will lead Friday with $4.6 million to $5.1 million.

“Ghost Dimension” is launching in 1,656 theaters, compared to 2,867 locations for 2014’s “Paranormal Activity: the Marked Ones.” Many cinema owners are refusing to play the film because of an innovative deal between Paramount, AMC and Canada’s Cineplex to make it available in homes earlier than usual.

Despite strong reviews, “Steve Jobs” is falling short of expectations, which had gone as high as $19 million in recent days. The biopic is expanding from 60 to 2,493 North American theaters, and is expected to take in $7.4 million to $8.3 million after grossing a solid $2.6 million in its first 13 days of release.

“Witch Hunter” is also falling far short of recent estimates, which had ranged from $15 million and $19 million, and will finish in the same range as “Steve Jobs” at 3,082 locations. The supernatural actioner, which stars Diesel as an immortal witch hunter, carries a $70 million price tag but Lionsgate’s financing model limits the studio’s risk exposure to an average of $13 million per film.

“Rock the Kasbah,” starring Bill Murray as a concert promoter who discovers a Pashtun musical sensation, is showing little traction as it debuts on 2,012 screens. The $15 million comedy had been expected to pull in $6 million for Open Road this weekend, but the final number is heading for under $2 million with a quiet $500,000 on Friday.

Universal’s “Jem and the Holograms,” the big-screen version of the 1980s animated TV series about a rock group, is performing almost as poorly as “Kasbah.” It had been expected to take in about $7 million at 2,413 theaters but will wind up in the $1.6 million to $2.2 million range.

However, the financial hit for “Jem” is ameliorated by its modest price tag of $5 million, as it has been produced by low-budget specialist Blumhouse.

“Goosebumps,” which edged “The Martian” last weekend with $23.6 million, continued showing traction Friday with as much as $4.2 million to edge both “Witch Hunter” and “Steve Jobs.”

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, said that the market appears to be over-crowded with titles chasing the adult demographic.

“This has to be considered one of the most crowded movie marketplaces of the year and with ‘Steve Jobs’ now joining the fray, the sophisticated adult audience is now even more fragmented,” he said. “Films like ‘The Martian,’ ‘Bridge of Spies,’ ‘Crimson Peak,’ ‘Sicario,’ ‘The Intern’ and ‘Black Mass’ are all courting essentially the same audience and offering a bevy of riches for discerning moviegoers.”

He added, “Hopefully the allure of these movies individually is enough to compel moviegoers to take the time to see each film and not be overwhelmed by the large collective inventory of films.”

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  1. Well says:

    Only Hollywood is obsessed with the Steve Jobs story. The rest of us are just happy to enjoy creations. Look at Jem and the Holograms and Last Witch Hunter making their way into Razzie contention. . This is a boring week at the multiplex. Save the money and stay home. I’ll be absent until Spectre, Mockingjay Part 2, and Star Wars come out.

  2. Lara says:

    Serious mistake not to give Steve Jobs a wide release in it`s first week.

  3. cadavra says:

    I hope the studios take notice of this logjam and next year start releasing a few grown-up movies in the vast wasteland that is summer.

    • Lara says:

      Good idea.I hope that happens.

    • John Shutt says:

      That’s what I hope for too. I fear that they’ll take Steve Jobs’ dissapointing expansion and Bridge of Spies lukewarm opening(legs should be good for it though) as that people arent interested in grown up movies anymore and will say”Lets not do anymore”. There is a strong audience for these kind of films but pushing them so close together has caused many to not reach thier potential they would gotten otherwise in a less crowded weekend(summer). Spread the product out please Hollywood

  4. Thetoxicavenger says:

    To below comment: fassbender was amazing in jobs and christian bale and Leo are great actors as well. I don’t know if they would have made the movie better though. Also bo results don’t dictate Oscar results and thankfully so.

    • John Shutt says:

      I think the film will still get nominated for a few awards but its underperformance will probably hurt it a bit in terms of winning anything. Plus its definitly a polarizing movie.

    • Peter says:

      I know Fassbender is great but he is no star, no draw. Leo and Bale could have done better among the audience. They are more popular, although as talented as Fassbender. Nods will come either way, flopping won’t affect the film.

  5. Peter says:

    Bye bye Oscar Fassbender! Kidding, he wouldn’t win this anyway, he’s far from being a Hollywood star. But I’m sure that Dicaprio or Bale doing this the result would be better.

  6. JJ says:

    I’m waiting to enjoy my third dose of Mark Watney (my bae) in IMAX next week, so can’t help ya out this week, Matty. But The Martian IS the best movie in theaters, so enjoy, folks!

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