In a sign that most audiences just don’t want to watch movies about Steve Jobs, box office numbers show that the new movie about the Apple co-founder, “Steve Jobs,” from acclaimed director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, is on par with the numbers for the 2013 critical dud “Jobs,” starring Ashton Kutcher as the tech figure.
Though “Steve Jobs” looked to come out of the starting gate strong with a limited run that brought in $US2.2 million over two weeks in 60 screens, the film only took in $US7.1 million its first weekend nationwide. “Jobs” took in $US6.7 million its first weekend wide. (“Steve Jobs” has yet to open overseas.)
“Steve Jobs” has a current box office gross of $US14.7 million in its fourth week in theatres. “Jobs” hit $US14.8 million in its third week.
This isn’t good news for Universal, which released “Steve Jobs” with hopes that it would be one of its big titles to ride into award season.
It’s likely that when “Steve Jobs” ends its run, it will earn more than “Jobs”($US34 million worldwide), especially if it gets some big award season nominations, which always bump up the box office tally. But this will probably make studio executives hesitant about signing on for any more Steve Jobs-related projects.
When Business Insider spoke to Aaron Sorkin before the film opened, he noted that “if you lined up ten writers and asked them to each write a movie about Steve Jobs, you’ll get ten different and good movies. We’re well on our way to proving that, by the way.”
The “good movies” line certainly is up for debate, but Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak, a media measurement company, told the Hollywood Reporter that we shouldn’t be surprised by the disappointing performance of “Steve Jobs.”
“Often sophisticated, intellectually charged movies like ‘Steve Jobs’ have a tough time gaining huge acceptance by a general audience — they play well in the major cities and among the intelligentsia and then have a tougher time gaining acceptance in wide release,” he said.
One example is the performance of another Steve Jobs movie that’s currently out, Alex Gibney’s documentary “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine.” Released by Magnolia Pictures, it has done a per-screen average similar to the other Jobs films while staying in limited release (the film will air on CNN next year).
When “Steve Jobs” went wide in 2,500 screens, it had a per-screen average of $US2,850. “Jobs,” wide at 2,400, did $US2,820 per screen. Gibney’s Jobs film, in only 68 screens, did $US2,686. To date, it’s made $US493,000 total.
With Gibney’s film costing considerably less than either Jobs narrative film, it looks like “The Man in the Machine” has the right Jobs formula so far.
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