'Rock the Kasbah,' 'Jem and the Holograms' hit wrong notes at box office

'The Martian' triumphed at the box office this weekend while new releases like 'Jem,' 'Kasbah,' and 'The Last Witch Hunter' all struggled. What made audiences stay away?

Kerry Brown/Open Road Films/AP
'Rock the Kasbah' stars Bill Murray.

New releases such as “Jem and the Holograms,” “Rock the Kasbah,” and “The Last Witch Hunter” fared poorly at the box office this past weekend, allowing less-recent movies such as “The Martian” and “Goosebumps” to triumph. 

The new movie that performed the best was the supernatural film “The Last Witch Hunter,” which stars Vin Diesel as a man who is hundreds of years old and who must stop his enemies from destroying New York City. While it performed the best of the new movies, “Hunter” still came in only at fourth place, grossing almost $11 million domestically. 

First place went to “The Martian,” which opened on Oct. 2. The movie, which stars Matt Damon as an astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars, earned very positive reviews and has topped the box office for multiple weeks. This weekend, it grossed almost $16 million.

Meanwhile, “Goosebumps,” which stars Jack Black and is based on the spooky children’s series of the same name, placed second, grossing more than $15 million. The film opened last week at No. 1 at the box office .

Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” which stars Tom Hanks and centers on Cold War politics, came in third, grossing more than $11 million this past weekend. It had opened earlier this month as well.

The other movies debuting this weekend grossed even less than “Hunter.” The possible Oscar contender “Steve Jobs” went into wide release this past weekend (it opened in limited release on Oct. 9) but it grossed only a little more than $7 million this past weekend. 

Other new movies didn’t even make the list of the top 10. “Rock the Kasbah,” which stars Bill Murray as a music manager who travels to Afghanistan, grossed only $1.5 million. And “Jem and the Holograms,” a movie version of the 1980s animated TV series about a group of young women who form a band, took in just $1.3 million.

What accounted for the lack of tickets sold, especially for “Hunter,” “Kasbah,” and “Jem”?

All three received reviews warning audiences to stay away. "Hunter" was not based on a pre-existing story, though it did star "Furious 7" actor Vin Diesel. The only name recognition “Kasbah” had was Murray. But the box office performance of some of Murray’s recent films has been mixed. This year’s movie “Aloha” also did poorly at the box office, as did 2014's "The Monuments Men," though 2014's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "St. Vincent" did better.

As for “Jem,” fans of the cartoon series apparently stayed away from the movie adaptation. This may have been because they saw trailers for the movie, which show a very different plot from the original TV series. In the original show, protagonist Jem, or Jerrica, used a holographic computer called Synergy to make herself look like a pop star.

But in the new movie, Jem is discovered via YouTube, and the part of the story involving Synergy includes a plotline in which the band must find missing parts for the machine, a significant deviation from the original story. After hearing about these changes, the negative reviews for the movie may have confirmed the decision of fans of the cartoon series to stay away.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to 'Rock the Kasbah,' 'Jem and the Holograms' hit wrong notes at box office
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today