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Flops happen in Hollywood – it’s the nature of the business. The last few months have proven incredibly profitable for numerous studios, with some releases even breaking box-office records. However, this weekend saw a grand slam of failure as all four major releases have thus far tanked at the box office.
According to Deadline, the four major Hollywood releases that hit theaters this weekend – The Last Witch Hunter, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Jem and the Holograms, and Rock the Kasbah – all underperformed at the box office upon their release. The report estimates roughly a $10 million weekend for Witch Hunter against its $75–$80 million budget. The fifth Paranormal Activity is expected to make $7.8 million, and it looks like a $1.7 million weekend is coming for Jem and the Holograms. Rock the Kasbah has taken the brunt of the blow, with a weekend estimate of $1.55 million – possibly making it the all-time worst opening for studio Open Road and actor Bill Murray (yes, even Garfield did better). In terms of critical response, The Last Witch Hunter as well as Jem actually received decent responses, but that was not enough to ensure a solid audience turnout for any of the films.
The aptly titled Steve Jobs biopic Steve Jobs has also financially underperformed, but the report seems to have more faith in its ability to gather an audience. As a strong contender for award season, the Michael Fassbender-led biography is expected to generate a strong audience as nominations and accolades begin to roll in. It still didn't break the bank or anything -- with $7.4 million against a $30 million budget – but it is expected to have a much longer shelf life than any of the other films released in the pre-Halloween weekend.
This weekend’s real winners were the films that premiered earlier in the month. Goosebumps is expected to take the number one slot at the box office should it narrowly beat out reigning champ The Martian, while Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s most recent collaboration Bridge of Spies will likely came in at a respectable third place.
The apparent reason for this four-headed box office failure apparently has to do with the time of year. With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, no studio wants to release a movie next weekend, and the following weekend will see Spectre hitting theaters – which no one in their right mind would have any interest in competing against. Adding to the complication was the fact that most of these films share a core audience demographic – under 25 years old – so in the end, the crowded release slate weakened all of their releases.
After such a strong summer where records were continually shattered, it’s interesting to see so many films fail so miserably over the course of one weekend. However, with all of the highly anticipated films on the horizon, it’s highly unlikely that this trend will persist for very long.