Bad Box Office? Blame ‘Halo’

Robert Dow

from Advertising Age (

The joystick has brought Ben Stiller nothing but sorrow.

Total industry ticket sales were only $80 million for the Oct. 5 weekend the film opened, a whopping 27% below the same weekend the year before, according to research firm Media by Numbers. That’s the industry’s worst performance for an October weekend since 1999. Overall, domestic receipts are down 6% from last fall.

Blame the Master Chief.

Many film executives are convinced audiences stayed home to play Microsoft’s carpal-tunnel classic, “Halo 3,” which went on sale on Sept. 26. The game sold an astonishing $170 million worth of copies on its first day, before going on to sell well over $300 million.

A spokesman for Paramount, which owns Dreamworks, the studio that released the Ben Stiller movie, declined to discuss whether “Halo” had caused the “Kid” boondoggle. But privately, insiders at the studio suspect the blame might lie in part with “Halo 3.”

Master Chief is a superstar, of that there is little doubt, and we know he can conquer the Flood, but Hollywood? That might be a bridge too far. Of course its not like he is going up against the A-List here. The Heartbreak Kid has garnered only middling reviews at release. On the other hand, Hollywood is right to recognize new competition.—CRD