Oscar contenders dominated both the overall and specialty box offices this weekend. "The Martian" may have been bumped from the top of the charts by the new kiddie pic "Goosebumps" ($23.5 million) but this Fox sci-fi thriller still added $ $21.5 million from 3,701 screens to its haul which now totals $144 million after three weeks. Among the widely released newcomers, Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies" opened in 2,811 theaters and made $15.4 million. With a slew of rave reviews and a CinemaScore of A, Disney should do well with this prestige period piece which stars two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks as a reluctant recruit in Cold War diplomacy.
Over on the specialty side, A24 has a winner with "Room," which wowed the critics and did great business in its first weekend taking in $120,000 at four theaters in Gotham and Hollwyood. This intense drama, which won the audience award at TIFF last month, adds 18 cities on Oct. 30 before going nationwide on Nov. 6. The Sony Picture Classics docudrama "Truth" did well too, with a take of $76K in six theaters.
As expected, "Beasts of No Nation" did little business in 31 theaters nationwide ($50K) as it also began streaming on Netflix. The film, a harrowing look at child soldiers in Africa, won over critics who lavished praised on writer/director Cary Fukunaga and actors Abraham Attah and Idris Elba.
Universal's "Steve Jobs" expanded from four to 60 screens in its second week and raked in $1.5 million for an impressive per screen average of just under $26,000. Last weekend, it debuted to a whopping $130K at each of four theaters.
As of this writing, 19 of our 20 Oscar experts (journalists who cover this beat for major media including Variety, Yahoo, USA Today, and Huffington Post) are predicting that "Steve Jobs," Danny Boyle's biopic of Apple's patron saint, will reap a Best Picture bid. Fifteen are doing the same for "Bridge of Spies" and "Room" while a dozen expect "The Martian" to be among the nominees for this top prize.
Among the performers in this quartet of films,"Steve Jobs" player Michael Fassbender and "Room" breakout star Brie Larson sit atop the Best Actor and Best Actress charts respectively. Matt Damon, who plays an astronaut stranded on Mars determined to find a way home (think "Gravity" meets "Castaway") in "The Martian," just cracked the top five. Expect a similar move upwards for Hanks (currently ranked ninth) in the coming days as our experts update their predictions.
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