You know that sound the ghosts make when Pac-Man eats them? That just happened at the box office this weekend for “Pixels.”
The critically panned Adam Sandler movie about vintage video games going crazy opened to a tepid $24 million to fall into second place behind holdover “Ant-Man” with Paul Rudd, which collected $24.9 million in its second week, according to final numbers Monday.
“Paper Towns” also debuted weakly with only $12.7 million, well under estimates for the John Green adaptation that some thought could have topped $20 million on the strength of the author’s popularity and the carry-over goodwill from the Green-to-screen hit “The Fault in Our Stars.”
“I’m really somewhat mystified,” Chris Aronson, domestic distribution head at 20th Century Fox, which released “Paper Towns,” tells Variety. “It’s something we’re going to have to look at and review on a post-mortem basis and find out why we didn’t get more people in.”
In fact, the weekend overall was down and some speculated that many would-be moviegoers stayed home because of the shocking shooting last week week at a Louisiana theatre showing “Trainwreck” that killed three and injured nine.
The box office doldrums didn’t hurt “Southpaw,” however, as the Jake Gyllenhaal boxing drama — the only new release aimed at adults — opened to a better-than-expected $16.7 million, a solid haul considering the movie’s budget was only $25 million.