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Steve Jobs movie bombs nationwide, looks likely to lose money – Variety


Despite a strong weekend opening, the Sorkin/Boyle movie Steve Jobs appears to have bombed in its nationwide rollout, grossing just $7.3M against earlier estimates of $19M. That gives it a total take so far of around $10M, which Variety says leaves it unlikely to turn a profit.

The picture cost $30 million to make and at least as much to market. That means that “Steve Jobs” needs to do at least $120 million in order to break even. Given that the film is dialogue-driven and lacks a major star, its foreign prospects seem bleak.

The piece notes that the earlier success of Sorkin’s The Social Network may have created false hopes … 

“The Social Network” benefited from arriving just as Facebook was becoming ubiquitous. In 2010, it opened as everyone was discovering the thrill of over-sharing vacation pictures and political screeds. Even as it hit the zeitgeist, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg remained largely unknown to the general public. The story of the social media platform’s litigious origins had the shock of new.

With Steve Jobs, there have been endless profiles, the Walter Isaacson biography and the earlier Kutcher biopic. The latest movie also opened at a time when there were a lot of great movies competing for audiences. Its one hope now, suggests one analyst, is to remain in theaters until Oscar and Golden Globes nominations are announced, where it is expected to do well.

Universal says that it intends to continue to work hard to promote the movie.

“We are going to continue to support the film in the markets where it is showing strength and we’re going to continue to do it aggressively and proactively,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief.

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  1. xprmntr - 7 years ago

    Just needs some time

  2. Anthony Moon Ciaramello - 7 years ago

    I actually enjoyed the movie very much. Much better than Ashtons JOBS movie.

  3. Will Van Gelderen - 7 years ago

    Even if the movie is better than Ashtons movie, its still the same story underneath that people have seen and read many times now. People have moved on from the story now.

  4. rafterman11 - 7 years ago

    The simple truth is, outside the Apple community, no one gives a bleep about Steve Jobs.

    • johnmfoley - 7 years ago

      I don’t know. Given the comments from Tim Cook and Laurene Powell Job (as well as others) who said the movie was exploitative and not representative as Steve as a person, I purposely chose to avoid going to the movie. I think many others in the community did the same. AND while that community might not shift the needle so dramatically alone, having that base of supporters get others excited and bring their friends and family with them did have a sizable impact.

      • xacwhite - 7 years ago

        I know I’m not seeing the movie for exactly that reason.

      • dwsolberg - 7 years ago

        Same reason here. Generally I don’t see biographies because they almost all offer a distorted view of the person, and I don’t want a distorted viewpoint. Anyone watching that movie is going to think being a jerk makes you successful, when the truth is that Jobs was kicked out of his company for being a jerk who tried to control everything, and only succeeded in the long term by being a more open person and giving others control.

      • keldommage2014 - 7 years ago

        I agree with this. The source material was also somewhat suspect (even with Jobs’ approval, it was already derided as being a rush job and not a good reflection of the man). The other book, Becoming Steve Jobs from the Business Week/Fortune’s Stephen Levy was far more accurate and fair to the real person. I bought and read both, and in the Isaacson book certainly treated him as an archetype; in the Levy book, that felt more like it was a more realistic representation.

        The movie takes this archetype and then extends it further, and to me, distastefully so. I love Sorkin’s work, and Danny Boyle’s, but this feels more like an author with a point to make than a fair representation of someone who can’t defend themselves.

        …and there’s an associated point – just because Jobs was a jerk in his youth doesn’t mean we have the right to crucify him and ignore who he became. It’s so cool to hate on Steve now (@rafterman11 – don’t be a douche.) I say screw that – I think he was great, and I won’t contribute to changing the history of the man just to satisfy popular trends.

  5. AeronPeryton - 7 years ago

    Just desserts, Mr. Sorkin, just desserts.

    • Andrew Messenger - 7 years ago


      • Adam Bolt - 7 years ago

        *desserts – unless you like eating sand?

      • ronaldcschoedeliii - 7 years ago

        Indeed “just deserts”. Desert, plural form, meaning that which one deserves. It’s an archaic word that is used modernly almost exclusively in this idiomatic expression. But it has nothing to do with dessert or eating or sand.

  6. André Hedegaard - 7 years ago

    Haha, of course it bombed! The subject matter and the way its portrayed, just isn’t stimulating enough to make a good movie.
    Apart from that, theres many of these Steve Jobs movies and time has passed now, so not so many people care anymore.
    Basically its a movie for die hard Apple nerds, it just simply won’t catch onto mainstream like James Bond, The Martian, Star Wars e.t.c.
    What were they thinking the goons?!?!?

  7. Jim T (@JimT1246) - 7 years ago


  8. Dave Huntley - 7 years ago

    I am sure many outside the Apple interest brigade are potential watchers, but frankly Sorkin off the bat pissed off lots of Apple fans, everyone says it’s not a bio as none of the things in the movie happened or were said, and frankly, we have heard and seen so much of jobs and the cocain fuled sorkin that I am pleased it has bombed. Anything with Grogan in it is crap usually too.

    So I said I wouldnt watch it and it looks like most of the world agrees. There’s just not enough compelling anyone to watch…. At least with Social Network you had the intrigue of Facebook King ripping off his friends royally and we know that’s true…

    • Pissed off a lot of Apple fans who are blatantly in full on worship mode. You can be an Apple fan AND be capable of independent thought.

      You should try it one day – it’s quite refreshing.

      • Dave Huntley - 7 years ago

        I see from your name and previous comments you’re a turd, but really I am no Apple fan, I mentioned them because they are the most likely market to want to go see it, but Sorkin peed them off. You don’t get that.

        So when it comes to independent thought, instead of making ASSumptions, you should know independent thought doesn’t mean something is ALL about you and your own POV. Narcissism and self obsessed are words you should be looking into – as you exhibit those traits – therefore you only think you are independent.

        For those who are Apple fans, it’s a free world, and if you’re happy doing it power to you. Trolls really are a pin in the ass. You should change your name to AssTroll, more fitting.

  9. chrisl84 - 7 years ago

    How many of these stupid movies do they need to make before they realize the general public could not give two S***s about this man. You can’t make your money back on 9to5 commenters alone. People are going to watch The Martian and be entertained not sit through boring dialog from Jobs.

  10. 89p13 - 7 years ago

    I went to see “The Martian” instead – there’s more reality in that movie than Sorkins!


  11. “Bombs” is a strong word. The movie is a bio-pic, and is probably performing as well as it can in a wide release. Excellent word of mouth and award nominations will help it out later. I watched the move Friday night and thought it was excellent. Looks like somebody at “9 to 5 Google” wrote this article.

  12. theparkteach - 7 years ago

    “bomb” – a movie that lost money. More expensive to produce than income. Unintended loss. Often a poorly-written, poorly executed movie. All the above applies here.

  13. brswllc - 7 years ago

    Reviews say it doesn’t match history, its made up. Why would anyone want to see a fictionalized historical account? I didn’t hear comments like that about “The Social Network”. AFAIK, it was pretty true to the story.

    • Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

      They admitted that key people were missing to talk to (tim, the daughter, the wife all had nothing to do with it)… so they did their best to tell a story while filling in the gaps..

      so yeah… even the writer and director admit that it is partially fiction

  14. finngodo - 7 years ago

    It bombed, along with everything else at the box office this weekend, because everyone bought their Star Wars tickets and that’s all that matters for the rest of the year.

  15. vkd108 - 7 years ago

    “The picture cost $30 million to make and at least as much to market. That means that “Steve Jobs” needs to do at least $120 million in order to break even. ”

    Personally, I am shit at maths. However I can see that 30×2=60 and 120=60×2. Therefore the quote is bullshit. That is my understanding.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

      Gross = total ticket sales, of which the distributor and cheaters keep around 50%, leaving the studio with the remaining 50%.

  16. Carter (@GETCARTERca) - 7 years ago

    $30 Million to make + $30 Million to market = $60 Million.
    How does that equal $120 Million to break even?

    • timcrook - 7 years ago

      Because they are talking about gross sales. Usually the studio, this case being Universal will get 50% of the theatre ticket price, where the other 50% goes to theatre and other stuff. So ideally $120M in ticket sales results $60M in Universal’s pocket resulting in break-even point. Based on the opening sales it probably won’t reach $120M.

  17. jrv6 - 7 years ago

    It will linger on the misanthrope’s screen at several multiplexes (people who would rather see Star Wars but who prefer mostly empty theaters)
    Then it will have a bit of an art-house re-lease around awards time, with some buzz about how is was too conceptual to be broadly popular.
    Then it will roll out on the streaming services…. So it will probably cmd close to breaking even.


  18. @dannypwins - 7 years ago

    Only the stanliest Apple stans give a sh*t about 1) this movie 2) SJ

  19. Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 7 years ago

    I just don’t go to movie theaters anymore. Between other people that simply don’t know how to keep their mouthes shut, sticky floors, outrageous prices for tickets and food/beverages, I would rather just wait until it comes out on cable and watch in the privacy of my own dwelling.

    • Ivan - 7 years ago

      If they have one in your area, go to Cinebistro. 1) They have a bar and you can drink before and during the movie 2) the price is so high that people who go mostly tend to shut up and enjoy because it’s not cheap 3) it’s a totally different experience than a regular theater. But it’s expensive.

      • Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

        Why not wait until it comes out on netflix and watch it at home on a big tv with your own drinks, in your own comfy chairs, for a lot cheaper price for a movie you might not even like.

  20. Ivan - 7 years ago

    We’re watching it wrong.

  21. JohnsonD (@quan900) - 7 years ago

    ——Unfortunately, Why This Movie won’t sell——-
    Me: So your going to see the Jobs movie
    Person: You mean that crappy movie with Ashton Kutcher, I heard its a waste of time.
    Me: No there is a new one, better one, it shows the “rougher” side of jobs.
    Person: Ehhh I will wait until it comes out on TV

  22. Mark - 7 years ago

    I still think the best movie about Steve was Pirates of Silicon Valley. Noah Wiley had it down, it was funny, perhaps slightly romanticized but reasonably accurate, and included a great Anthony Michael Hall portrayal of Gates.

  23. capdorf - 7 years ago

    The likelihood of it bombing was high. Late coming out after another Jobs film that wasn’t very good.

  24. srgmac - 7 years ago

    The problem is we already have pirates of silicon valley — it was a great movie..and I love Noah Wyle :) I have a feeling this one will be very similar to Pirates. Anyone know the Netflix release date?

  25. David Becker - 7 years ago

    The reason it may not do well is who is this movie going to appeal to? This isn’t like “Inside Out” or “Ted 2” where the movie has many types of audiences to choose from. Steve Jobs is going to appeal to tech geeks and Apple fanatics, such as myself. It’s not that I don’t like the movie, I saw it and thought it was pretty good.

  26. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    Sorkin is one of the biggest reason the movie isnt doing well… his publicity stunts didn’t go down well – how can you make a movie about apple, whereby most of the apple fans would gear up to watch it, but then attack the company.

    He made matters worse by making a movie about a person he knew very little about, but continued to make it without the support of those who were closest the Steve. Through his rudeness, and ego, he lost the support of people like his wife, daughter, and even Tim – All of whom wanted nothing to do with this movie – so essentially it was not an approved biopic…

    It was also released closed to the anniversary of his death, yet it was a movie that didnt show him in great light — generally if you are going to release a a biopic close the the anniversary of that persons death it will be a movie to honour the life of that person by showing them in good light.

    There are just so many things wrong with this person which has affected the movie.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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