Potential moviegoers found their treats largely outside of theaters this weekend as new releases “Burnt” with Bradley Cooper, “Our Brand Is Crisis” with Sandra Bullock and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” all suffered poor ticket sales and the domestic box office recorded its worst Halloween weekend in 16 years.
Holdovers nabbed the top four spots. “The Martian,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, sat atop the box office again in its fifth weekend. The 20th Century Fox release made an estimated $11.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, raising its starry total to about $182.8 million.
Rounding out the top four were Disney’s “Bridge of Spies,” which had $8.1 million in weekend ticket sales, and Sony’s animated “Hotel Transylvania 2,” which pulled in $5.8 million.
Of the new releases, Cooper’s turn as a self-involved chef in “Burnt” fared the best. The Weinstein Co. R-rated comedy took the fifth spot with about $5 million -- about $2 million below the low end of expectations. The film did not pull in its target audience -- women and foodies -- as well as producers had hoped. Those who did see it were largely unimpressed: The film received an B-minus grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore and positive reviews from only 29% of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Lomis said the film’s modest price tag, under $20 million, and its potential to do well internationally will help.
“Our Brand Is Crisis,” starring Bullock as a political strategist enlisted to help an embattled South American presidential candidate, eked a spot in top 10 with about $3.4 million, about half of what had been projected heading into the weekend.
“We’re proud of the movie,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. executive vice president of distribution. “But I had higher expectations and we’re obviously disappointed.”
Critics and audiences alike weren’t kind. The film got a C-plus grade on CinemaScore grade, and only 33% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a positive review.
The low turnout for “Crisis” follows the studio’s high-profile flop of “Pan.” Goldstein said he hoped word of mouth among “upmarket and older” viewers will help Bullock’s film.
“Crisis” and “Burnt” follow others that have struggled to pull older audiences into theaters, including the high-wire drama “The Walk,” which has grossed $9.9 million to date, and the biopic “Steve Jobs,” which has grossed only $14.5 million.
Though spooky movies have traditionally been box-office leaders in Halloweens past, “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” an R-rated horror-comedy full of raunch and splatter, performed poorly. The film, which cost an estimated $15 million, grossed about $1.8 million for 12th place.
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