Good reviews and a phenomenal marketing campaign did their job this weekend. No number of foot-in-mouth moments from Matt Damon could harm the opening weekend of The Martian, which opened in the number one spot at the box office. After a surprisingly robust September, this is another sign that we may very looking at one of the bigger fall movie seasons in quite some time.

FilmWeekendPer Screen
1The Martian$55,000,000$14,357$55,000,000
2Hotel Transylvania 2$33,000,000 (-32%)$8,791$90,541,000
3Sicario$12,075,000 (+603%)$4,609$15,076,000
4The Intern$11,620,000 (-34%)$2,305$36,523,000
5Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials$7,650,000 (-46%)
6Black Mass$5,905,000 (-46%)$2,133$52,521,000
7Everest$5,506,000 (-58%)$1,830$33,177,000
8The Visit$3,949,000 (-41%)$1,720$57,694,000
9War Room$2,800,000 (-34%)$1,604$60,544,000
10The Perfect Guy$2,400,000 (-50%)$1,760$52,715,000


The Martian may be a record breaker. Maybe. At the time of this writing, early estimates have Ridley Scott’s new science fiction drama earning $55 million in its opening weekend, which literally puts it within a million bucks of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, which opened to $55.7 million around this time two years ago. Since Gravity currently holds the record for biggest October opening weekend of all time, that means The Martian is this close dethroning it. When official numbers arrive in the next day, it will either barely take the record or barely miss it.

And yes, there is definitely a chuckle to be had over the fact that two movies about astronauts being stranded in space are competing for this record.

Gravity ultimately went on to gross $274 million at the domestic box office, but it had a 91-minute running time on its side and theaters could squeeze many screenings into a single day. The Martian is literally an hour longer, which means it’ll have an uphill battle as it begins to lose theaters. However, the film itself is a massive crowd-pleaser — the buzz is going to be strong and people are going to flock out in droves to see this thing. With limited competition arriving in the coming week (sorry, Pan), The Martian could conquer October.

It was a strong weekend for other movies, too. Hotel Transylvania 2 fell a tiny 32 percent, grossing $33 million in its second weekend for a $90 million total. At this rate, $200 million feels inevitable, especially since it’ll play well through Halloween. It certainly won’t do Minions or Inside Out numbers, but it’ll get a third movie greenlit.

As we predicted last week, The Intern started showing off its legs this weekend. Dropping only 36 percent, the Nancy Meyers comedy made $11 million for a $36 million total so far. As older audiences take their sweet time getting to the movies, expect this one to slowly transform into a sleeper hit.

We can’t make such predictions for Sicario, which emerged from limited release and did okay. It did fine. $12 million is solid for an R-rated drug war drama. Still, the huge numbers from its smaller run seemed to promise a bigger debut. We’ll have to wait and see if this one grows legs.

The rest of the top 10 isn’t quite as exciting. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials grossed $7 million for a $63 million total. At this rate, it won’t match the first film’s gross but it also won’t totally embarrass itself. Black Mass, War Room, The Visit, and The Perfect Guy continued doing solid business, each of them sitting pretty much on or close to $60 million. Only Everest disappointed. After a strong showing in large format screens the mountaineering drama has practically flopped in wide release. It will be lucky to reach $50 million.

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