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'Steve Jobs' movie flops in nationwide opening weekend

The film performed well earlier this month in New York and LA, but so far hasn't resonated with a wider audience in the US.

Michael Fassbender plays the title role in "Steve Jobs." The movie earned $7.3 million at the box office over the weekend, far short of the $19 million that some had predicted.
Universal Pictures

The new "Steve Jobs" film failed to wow the US box office over the weekend.

"Steve Jobs" racked up $7.3 million in its nationwide initial weekend, Variety reported on Sunday. That figure put it in seventh place among other films this weekend and fell far short of the $19 million that box office polling had predicted, Variety added.

The movie, based on Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography of Jobs, was directed by Danny Boyle, written by Aaron Sorkin and stars Michael Fassbender. The film scored big the weekend of October 9 where it premiered in only four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. It rang up an average of more than $130,000 per theater, better than any other film released so far this year.

As Apple CEO, Steve Jobs was a larger-than-life figure who continues to fascinate people four years after his death. He's been the subject of several books, documentaries and a 2013 film starring Ashton Kutcher. Jobs was also a controversial figure, seen by many as a genius and by others as a harsh and demanding person. It's no wonder Hollywood took notice.

So why the brush off this past weekend?

The film has received generally positive reviews but has also generated controversy for not being faithful to real-life events. Several of Jobs' friends and colleagues have blasted the movie for its inaccuracies. Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, reportedly lobbied both Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures to quash the film. Variety said, however, other reasons are to blame for the initial poor box office take.

Fassbender delivered a solid performance, according to Variety, but the film lacks a major star with drawing power, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale, both of whom turned down the role. Variety also noted that Jobs has already been the subject of films and profiles, so he's hardly an "unknown commodity." The movie faced competition at the box office from older movies such as "The Martian," which was No. 1, and newer releases like "The Last Witch Hunter" and "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension," Nos. 4 and 6 respectively.

"Steve Jobs" continues to do well in urban markets, so that's where Universal will focus its efforts.

"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," Nicholas Carpou, Universal's domestic distribution chief, said in a statement to Variety. "The critics are there for it and the buzz in these markets is strong."

Universal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.