Pan flops with $21.6 million opening at North American box office

Pan cast members, Australian actors Hugh Jackman (centre) and Levi Miller (right), on stage with British director Joe Wright (left) at the Japanese premiere of the movie in Tokyo on Oct 1, 2015.
Pan cast members, Australian actors Hugh Jackman (centre) and Levi Miller (right), on stage with British director Joe Wright (left) at the Japanese premiere of the movie in Tokyo on Oct 1, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pan walked the plank over the Columbus Day Weekend.

Warner Bros spent US$150 million (S$209 million ) to bring the Neverland adventure to screens and millions more in marketing, but the big-budget fantasy mustered a puny US$15.5-million opening.

That debut puts Pan, starring Hugh Jackman, alongside The Fantastic Four and Tomorrowland in the pantheon of the year's most punishing flops.

"It's a huge misfire," said Jeff Bock, box-office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, adding, "We won't see another Peter Pan film for awhile."

Pan's backers were not the only ones having a rough weekend.

Sony's The Walk stumbled in its wide release, expanding from 448 Imax and premium large format theatres to more than 2,500 locations, and eking out US$3.6 million in the process.

The biopic about Philippe Petit's daring high-wire walk between the Twin Towers cost US$35 million to produce and has clear Oscar ambitions for director Robert Zemeckis and the technical team behind the film. It has made a paltry US$6.4 million in its initial two weeks.

The Sony team seems discouraged that positive reviews for the picture's innovative use of 3D and strong word-of-mouth have not lifted The Walk higher. "It's a conundrum why more folks didn't come out, because once you see it, it's one of those films that you never forget," said Rory Bruer, Sony's distribution chief. "It's a picture that everybody put their heart and soul into."

With the new major studio releases teetering, Fox's The Martian, at No. 1, stabilised overall ticket sales. The space thriller slipped a modest 32 per cent in its second weekend, nabbing US$37 million and pushing its domestic total to US$108.7 million.

Sony's Hotel Transylvania 2 racked up US$20.3 million in its third weekend to come in at No. 2. Pan finished in third place.

In limited release, Universal's Steve Jobs scored, pulling in US$521,000 across four theatres for a per-screen average of US$130,236.

That ranks as the best theatre average of the year, and nicely positions the film about the Apple co-founder for its wide release launch on Oct 23.