‘The Martian’ Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox
Elsewhere, Robert Zemeckis’ ‘The Walk’ is off to a slow start in its exlcusive Imax run, while ‘Sicario’ scores in nationwide expansion.
Ridley Scott‘s 3D space epic The Martian has successfully blasted off at the North American box office, where it grossed a stellar $18 million Friday for a projected $53 million weekend.
The Martian, from 20th Century Fox, will easily best the $47.5 million debut of Christopher Nolan‘sInterstellar last November and, at least on Friday, edged out the opening day of Gravity ($17.5 million) thanks to glowing reviews and an A CinemaScore.
Launching on the same weekend in 2013, Gravity remains the record-holder for the top October debut of all time ($55.8 million), not accounting for inflation. Gravity saw a rare 31 percent jump from Friday to Saturday, and faced far less competition than The Martian, which is expected to jump 25 percent on Saturday.
Drew Goddard wrote the adapted script for The Martian based on Andy Weir‘s best-selling book. Damon stars opposite Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hennie.
Playing in 3,826 theaters domestically, the space adventure is getting the widest October release ever for a live-action film. Friday’s gross includes $2.5 million earned Thursday night from 2,800 locations, the best showing since Straight Outta Compton‘s $4.9 million in mid-August. It also bested the $1.4 million earned in Thursday previews by Gravity.
Unlike Gravity, The Martian isn’t playing in Imax theaters. That’s because Imax was committed to an exclusive run of Robert Zemeckis‘ The Walk, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as French artistPhilippe Petit, who gained fame after he walked on a high wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.
The Walk, playing in 448 Imax theaters plus a smattering of premium large-format theaters not carrying The Martian, is off to a soft start, according to early Friday returns. For the weekend, the 3D film is on course to earn roughly $1.3 million, compared to the $3 million pre-release tracking had suggested.
Sony/TriStar is using the exclusive Imax run to build word-of-mouth in advance of the film’s nationwide opening on Oct. 9. Universal did the same two weeks ago with Everest, which grossed $7.2 million in its exclusive Imax and PLF engagement.
Denis Villeneuve‘s critically acclaimed Sicario is expanding nationwide this weekend to strong results. The film placed No. 3 Friday after The Martian and holdover Hotel Transylvania 2 with $4.3 million from 2,620 theaters for a projected $11.5 million weekend. From Lionsgate, the drug cartel drama stars Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin and earned an A- CinemaScore.
Sony’s Hotel Transylvania sequel remains a winner in its second outing. The animated film is expected to fall just 44 percent to an estimated $33 million for a domestic total north of $90 million. Holdovers The Intern and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials are expected to round out the top five with weekend earnings of roughly $12 million and $7 million-plus, respectively.
(Aidan Monaghan/Twentieth Century Fox)
Why are people always risking their lives to save Matt Damon?
Okay, perhaps always is a bit much, but in Saving Private Ryan, a unit of brave G.I.s who barely survived the storming of Normandy in 1944 had to sacrifice their lives to rescue one average man whose brothers had been killed. The man is the mission again in Ridley Scott’s The Martian, in which Damon plays an injured astronaut erroneously left behind on Mars after his crew presumed him dead and rocketed back to Earth to escape a destructive storm. When Damon’s Mark Watney awakes in the red sand of Mars, alive but completely alone, he has to figure out a way to make his meager supplies last and get in touch with Earth so they can mount some type of rescue. As Watney says in one of the video logs that keep the narrative moving: “I’m going to have to science the sh-t out of this.”
Based on Andy Weir’s nerdy best-selling novel and Drew Goddard’s script, The Martian relies heavily on its leading man. Although the film is bursting with famous faces — Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Michael Peña are among his crew, while Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are helping from Earth — Damon holds the screen for long stretches all by himself, either MacGyvering some gizmo to survive another day or speaking directly to the many cameras that serve as his log and personal refuge. “It’s his high-tech version of Wilson the volleyball,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty, in his A- review. “Damon sells these confessional monologues about thermodynamics, hexadecimals, and even Donna Summer in a way few actors could. He’s equally at home peddling pathos and punchlines. And he single-handedly turns an epic survival tale into something intimate and human.”
Damon, sci-fi nerds might recall, recently played another lost-in-space astronaut in Christopher Nolan’sInterstellar. That unbilled cameo tweaked Damon’s innate likability for dramatic effect, but The Martian is more earnest in playing to the actor’s strengths. “Earn this,” Tom Hanks’s dying Capt. Miller once whispered to Damon’s Private Ryan. At 44, Damon has, and Scott recognized he had the right actor at the right time to make this cinematic voyage something special.
Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly) ?
“If you had to boil Ridley Scott’s The Martian down to five words, you could do worse than this: “Matt Damon lost in space.” Thankfully, I have more room than that. And I’m glad I do, because Scott’s sci-fi adventure is the kind of film you leave the theater itching to tell your friends to see. Like Apollo 13 andGravity, it turns science and problem solving into an edge-of-your-seat experience.”
Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times) ?
“The Martian … is a hopeful love letter to science and math, American resolve, the power of friendship and the dream of a world in which nations set aside their differences to unite to bring one man home. It’s also a visual stunner, and it features one of our most likable and dependable actors giving a performance that ranks with anything he’s ever done.”
Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
“As commercial entertainment, The Martian delivers on expectations of a ‘smart’ blockbuster even as it adheres to the formula of a relatively simple feel-good drama. Though Interstellar aimed for more ambition,The Martian plays it safer: It’s a brainy studio effort that sticks to familiar ground in more ways than one.”
Ty Burr (Boston Globe) ?
“The Martian … makes knowing stuff seem attractive, cool, even sexy. The details of how Watney turns farmer on a planet lacking oxygen or water … or how he cogitates his way to reestablishing contact with Earth are dramatized in scenes that are crisp, exciting, and zinging with wit. They trade on the bond that audiences have built over the years with Damon as a fleet but grounded presence — the movie star next door.”
Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) ?
“Damon is as likable an American actor as we have and ideally cast to convey the pleasing self-confidence and intrepid sense of humor that characterized Watney in the book. He’s just the kind of guy to add interest to the story’s considerable science and make Watney’sRobinson Crusoe on Mars situation plausible.”
Manohla Dargis (New York Times) ?
“Damon’s Everyman quality (he’s our Jimmy Stewart) helps scale the story down, but what makes this epic personal is Mr. Scott’s filmmaking, in which every soaring aerial shot of the red planet is answered by the intimate landscape of a face. There’s a touch of Cecil B. DeMille in his cinematic DNA (for better and occasionally for worse), though, like many who saw 2001: A Space Odyssey during their esthetically formative years, there’s even more Stanley Kubrick.”
Dana Stevens (Slate)
“Scott has, against all odds, broken one of the most fundamental laws of physics: the tendency of systems toward entropy. Scott’s recent films, many of them grand-scale spectacles (Prometheus, Exodus: Gods and Kings) have grown progressively longer, slower, and more ponderous. Now, suddenly, the director has changed course with a movie that, while certainly long — The Martian approaches 2½ hours—feels as bouncy and light as a beach ball.”
David Edelstein (New York) ?
“Cynical as I am about how monster-budget blockbusters have come to dominate the studio mind-set, I can’t imagine anyone not liking this one. The Martian is shot, designed, computer-generated, and scripted on a level that makes most films of its ilk look slipshod. Scott and writer Drew Goddard aren’t trying to make an ‘important’ sci-fi movie like Interstellar. They aim lower but blow past their marks.”
Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)
“There are lots of good things in The Martian, but then there are lots of things in The Martian altogether, too many things. The new Ridley Scott movie is fascinating and charming and crammed and overstuffed, and it’s a curious case, too. It gets all the seemingly hard things wonderfully right, but then caves in at points that should have been easy. Worst of all, “The Martian” turns sluggish right when it needs to speed up.”
Ann Hornaday (Washington Post)
“Imagine George Clooney’s wisecracking character fromGravity fetching up on Mars, only to be the subject of an Apollo 13-style rescue mission, and you get a sense of what part of fictional outer space The Martian occupies. Refreshingly irreverent but unapologetically worshipful when it comes to honoring real-life science, this bracing riff on exploration, gumption and ingenuity shows what Big Movies can do when they resist taking themselves too seriously.”
Peter DeBruge (Variety) ?
“Scott carries that scrupulous adherence to science forward in the film, eschewing a more predictable suspense-movie score from composer Harry Gregson-Williams in favor of the sort of mellow musical chain reaction heard in natural-science docs and Discovery Channel reality shows. The idea here is to capitalize on the excitement of human ingenuity, the musical metaphor for which can be heard percolating behind the team’s every breakthrough — and they are a team.”
Length: 134 minutes
Starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Kristen Wiig
Directed by Ridley Scott
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi; Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig; Director: Ridley Scott; Release Date Wide: 10/02/2015; Runtime (in minutes): 142; MPAA Rating: PG-13
The problem that needs solving is this: The crew of NASA’s Ares III mission is collecting samples on the Red Planet when a violent sandstorm whips up. In all of the zero-visibility chaos, Damon’s Mark Watney is presumed to be dead. So his team (led by Jessica Chastain) evacuates and irreversibly heads back to Earth. But Watney isn’t dead, he’s merely a bit roughed up, and now he’s stranded 140 million miles from home. Watney’s team left behind only enough provisions to last a few months. Which sounds like a long time until we’re told by NASA officials (Jeff Daniels and Chiwetel Ejiofor) that it will take four years before a rescue party can reach him. Watney may be alive, but he’s living with a death sentence unless he can figure out a way to use his wits and turn the lifeless planet into a makeshift Eden with water and food. Fortunately, he’s a botanist. “I’m going to have to science the s— out of this,” he says.
There’ve been a lot of movies about Mars. And there have been a lot of movies about lone castaways (see sidebar). There was even one that combined the two, 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars. But The Martian, based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel and Drew Goddard’s airtight script, is the first to make you feelwhat it’s like to be stranded there, thanks to both Scott’s 3-D visual grandeur (this is, after all, the man behind Alien and Blade Runner) and his charismatic Crusoe, Damon. Watney keeps a video diary to track his Mr. Wizard experiments and to hold on to his sanity—it’s his high-tech version of Wilson the volleyball. Damon sells these confessional monologues about thermodynamics, hexadecimals, and even Donna Summer in a way few actors could. He’s equally at home peddling pathos and punchlines. And he single-handedly turns an epic survival tale into something intimate and human.
The Martian isn’t perfect. There are too many secondary characters (Kristen Wiig, as a NASA functionary, just stands around looking concerned, and Donald Glover’s Aspergian physicist is like an annoying, rejected cast member from The Big Bang Theory), and Scott’s ending is disappointingly corny considering how uncorny everything leading up to it is. But it seems churlish to point out a few flaws in a film that’s such a thrilling testament to human ingenuity. It’s a rare blockbuster with the brains to match its budget.
They may be the most controversial couple in hip hop, breaking up and getting back together faster than one of their high velocity raps.
But on Thursday night Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill were most definitely back on as they partied together at Playhouse Night Club in Hollywood.
The 32-year-old hip hop queen squeezed into an elegant pin striped mini-dress as she showed off her incredible figure.
Sporting blonde hair for the evening, the Super Bass rapper elevated her 5ft2in with a pair of nude heels.
While playing around with her female companions for the evening, Nicki struck a variety of sultry poses – and of course made sure to highlight her famous derriere.
Nicki recently revealed to GQ she fell for Meek when he was in jail last year and that when it comes to boyfriends she is not that experienced.She’s in charge: Nicki led the way as she headed inside the club to party with Meek MillNever a dull moment: The 32-year-old hip hop queen squeezed into an elegant pin striped mini-dress as she showed off her incredible figure
Star-crossed: Nicki recently revealed she fell for Meek when he was in jail last year and that when it comes to boyfriends she is not that experienced
While Meek claimed he courted Nicki for a year but only after she split with ex Safaree Samuels did she finally reach out to him – problem was he was headed to jail for violating his parole.
So their romance, in fact, began through telephone conversations while Meek was behind bars.
Meanwhile, Nicki is expanding her musical talents to the television screen.
The Anaconda rapper is set to star in and executive produce a new half-hour comedy series for ABC Family.Trouble at the start: Meek claims he courted Nicki for a year but only after she split with ex Safaree Samuels did she finally reach out to him – problem was he was headed to jail for violating his parole
No hurdle too great: Their romance, in fact, began through telephone conversations while Meek was behind bars
Nicki’s own life is providing the inspiration as the show will chronicle her own rise to musical stardom including her family’s move from Trinidad in the early 1990s when she was a youngster to her upbringing in Queens, New York.
The star, who is famous for her revealing outfits and showy performances on stage, promised ‘to give the world something really special,’ as Entertainment Weekly reported.
Nicki gave a hint that ‘something’ was happening when she tweeted that she had a ‘surprise’ for her fans.Breaking news: The rapper alerted her fans to the news by posted ABC Family’s announcement on her Instagram page on TuesdayComedic role: The Anaconda singer played a wisecracking assistant in last year’s The Other Woman
And then on Tuesday, she shared the ABC Family announcement on her Instagram page, which read: ‘BREAKING NEWS! @Nicki Minaj is executive producing & appearing in a new @ABCFamily comedy based on her life!’
‘This is one of the more unique adventures I’ve ever embarked on,’ Nicki said in a statement.
She added: ‘I couldn’t be more proud and excited to team up with an amazing group of people to give the world something really special.’
Right on the mark: Nicki won raves for her spoof on Kim Kardashian during a Weekend Update skit with Colin Jost on Saturday Night Live last December
Nicki flexed her acting talents in last year’s comedy The Other Woman starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton.
She played Lydia, the wise-cracking assistant to Carly (Diaz).
During a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live on December 6 of last year, Nicki won raves for her spoof on Kim Kardashian during a Weekend Update skit with Colin Jost.
Nicki recently completed Barbershop 3 as a Draya, ‘the sassy new hairdresser of the beauty shop portion of the barbershop,’ Variety reported.
Kim Kardashian didn’t hesitate to hit back at Caitlyn Jenner after her former stepfather moaned about having to wear make-up all the time.
The reality pair met up for dinner this week and Kim later shared a video of their meeting on her new website.
Sitting around the table they soon get onto the topic of daily beauty routines, with Caitlyn moanin: “I am forced to wear make-up every day.”
Though Caitlyn quickly brushed it off, adding: “I am forced because Kim Kardashian told me I’ve got to rock it every day.
Laughing, the pregnant reality star concedes that she did in fact say that.
Caitlyn then jokes about doing Kim’s make-up. “I don’t even think I would even trust you to come near my face with makeup,” the reality star replies, but soon has a change of heart.
“I’m doing tutorials all week. I will fully wash my face and let you do my makeup if I have nowhere to go.
Demi Lovato has stripped off for a new photoshoot to prove it is possible to overcome body image battles and learn to “love the skin you’re in”.
The former child star, who has made no secret of her struggle with eating disorders in the past, has gone completely nude and make-up free for Vanity Fair.
“The reason why I decided to do this photo shoot is because when I think of confident I think of many things, but one thing in particular is feeling comfortable in your own skin,” the make-up free star says to camera.
“I thought there was something incredible of the idea of no make-up whatsoever and no clothes and no retouching. I would have never thought that I would have ever got to a place in my life where I would have felt comfortable doing that.”
“It’s empowering and it shows other women that you can get to a place where you can overcome obstacles of body image issues and you can feel comfortable and confident in your skin.”
She continues: “In the past I suffered from eating disorders and I basically went from hating every single inch of my body to working on myself and trying to figure out ways to love myself and love the skin I’m in.”