Oscar box office report: ‘The Martian’ & ‘Bridge of Spies’ fly high, ‘Steve Jobs’ stumbles

Oscar contenders dominated both the overall and specialty box offices this weekend. “The Martian” reclaimed its place at the top of the charts after being bumped last week by the kiddie pic “Goosebumps.” This Fox sci-fi thriller added $16 million from 3,504 screens to its impressive haul which now totals $166 million after four weeks. This coming weekend expect it to continue to do well as it unspools on 365 IMAX screens at premium prices. 

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And Steven Spielberg‘s “Bridge of Spies” did outstanding business in its second week, taking in another $11.4 million at 2,811 theaters for a cumulative gross of $32.6 million. With a slew of rave reviews and a CinemaScore of A, Disney should continue to do well with this prestige period piece which stars two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks as a reluctant recruit in Cold War diplomacy. 

Steve Jobs” stumbled as it went wide, jumping from 60 to 2,493 screens and grossing $7.3 million for a per screen average of just under $3K.  Universal had done well with Danny Boyle‘s biopic of Apple’s patron saint in its first two weeks of limited release, as it debuted to a whopping $130K at each of four theaters and then made $1.5 million on those 60 screens (PSA: $26K). Going forward, the combo of great reviews, good word of mouth (a CinemaScore of A-) and strong potential to do well with awards (see below) should mean a healthy haul in the weeks to come. 

Over on the specialty side, it looks like Focus has a winner with “Suffragette,” which did good business in its first weekend taking in $77,000 at four theaters in Gotham and Hollywood. This historical drama about the fight for the vote by British women has already raked in $4.5 million in its native Blighty and adds 22 screens in nine cities on this side of the pond this coming Friday. 

In its sophmore week “Room” expanded to 19 more screens in six new cities and grossed $254K (a per screen average of just over $11,000). And, in more good news for A24, Emma Donoghue‘s 2010 novel, which she adapted for the screen, is back on the bestseller list. 

Sony Picture Classics’ “Truth” went from six to 18 theaters and added another $117K (PSA: $6,500) for a total gross of just a tick over $213,000.

As of this writing, 20 of our 21 Oscar experts (journalists who cover this beat for major media including Variety, Yahoo, USA Today, and Huffington Post) are predicting that “Steve Jobs,” will reap a Best Picture bid. Seventeen are doing the same for “Bridge of Spies” and “Room” while 16 expect “The Martian” to be among the nominees for this top prize.  

Among the performers in these pictures ,”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.

Experts’ Oscar predictions update:
‘Joy’ closing in on ‘Spotlight’; ‘Bridge of Spies,’ ‘The Martian’ on rise

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Last year, our Top 24 Users led the way with an accuracy rate of 76.67% when it came to predicting the Oscar nominations. Next up were Gold Derby’s Editors with 74.44%, followed by the Experts with 71.11% and all Users with 68.09%. (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)

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Photos: Matt Damon in “The Martian”; Tom Hanks in “Bridge of Spies.” Credits: Moviestore/REX

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