Box Office: ‘Pan’ Bombing as ‘Martian’ Heads for $34 Million Weekend Win

The flight to Mars is towering over the flight to Neverland as Fox’s second weekend of “The Martian” looks likely to pull in as much as $34 million, according to early Friday estimates.

Warner Bros.’ opening of “Pan” is on a much more modest trajectory with projections for $20 million, at best, during the Columbus Day weekend. The Hugh Jackman vehicle scored $650,000 at Thursday night previews in the U.S. — one quarter of the $2.5 million for “The Martian” — and was on track for an opening day in the $6 million to $7 million range.

The performance for “Pan” is not a surprise, but it is a clear and costly disappointment. Expectations for the film, which opens at 3,515 locations and has a $150 million price tag, have been in the low $20 millions in recent days. Reviews have been unkind for the origins story, which also stars Rooney Mara and Garrett Hedlund, with a 24% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Martian,” which generated a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, could take in as much as $10 million on Friday. The Matt Damon space adventure should wind up the weekend well above the $100 million mark.

“It’s an overall slow weekend on tap, but a great opportunity for ‘The Martian’ to continue to wow audiences,” noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak.

Dergarabedian said the weekend is shaping up to be down slightly from the year-ago period, when the second weekend of “Gone Girl” led with $26.4 million.

Sony’s third weekend of “Hotel Transylvania 2” will easily beat “Pan” for the second slot at roughly $25 million to $28 million. The toon will finish the frame with around $125 million in its first 17 days.

By contrast, Sony’s seeing a less than enthusiastic reception for “The Walk,” which expands to 2,509 locations amid tempered expectations in the $4 million to $6 million range. The film, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, earned a modest $2.5 million in its first week in a limited debut at 448 premium large-format theaters.

Reviews for the drama, set in 1974, have been impressive with an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Pan” could see better numbers from overseas markets as it launches this weekend in 52 territories, including Germany, Russia, Korea, Mexico and Spain. “Pan” has also scored a release in China, where it debuts on Oct. 22.

“I think the global component could be strong for ‘Pan,'” Dergarbedian said.

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