With an over $200 million production and marketing budget, Disney‘s live action “Dumbo” fell very short of studio and industry expectations. That didn’t stop it from hitting the box office top spot. Jordan Peele‘s “Us” and “Captain Marvel” continued performing strongly.
“Captain Marvel” has hit just over $990 million and ranks as the eighth largest domestic release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It dropped to third place which a 40 percent dip in its fourth week in theaters.
The R-rated anti-abortion film “Unplanned” scored the second-best ever start for faith-based distributor Pure Flix. It was anticipated to bring in $3 million, but the controversial movie opened to a strong $6.1 million from 1,059 theaters. That’s impressive with a limited marketing plan.
“We are thrilled, gratified and humbled,” Unplanned co-directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman said on Sunday. “We are so pleased that the American people have responded with such an enormous outpouring of support at the box office. It humbles us and we look forward to seeing what happens in the weeks ahead.”
The Walt Disney Co. said Sunday that the Tim Burton-directed film has earned an estimated $45 million domestically from 4,259 locations against a $170 million production budget. It’s less than half of what “Beauty and the Beast,” ″The Jungle Book” and Burton’s own “Alice in Wonderland” opened to.
Audiences who did turn out, however, had a different response than the critics and gave the film an A- overall, according to CinemaScore.
“We think it’s a solid start,” said Cathleen Taff, Disney’s president of theatrical distribution. “We’re encouraged and hopeful with audience word of mouth.”
Internationally, “Dumbo” grossed $71 million, with $10.7 million coming from China, $7.4 million from the U.K. and $7.2 million from Mexico.
Disney has two other high-profile live-action remakes coming out this year in “Aladdin” (May 24) and “The Lion King” (July 19).
“I don’t think this is a mandate against live-action remakes. But sometimes when you don’t have the reviews, it can affect it,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore’s senior media analyst. “For Disney, the bar is set so high. This is just a little speed bump on what is already a spectacular year for Disney.”
“Dumbo” did bump Jordan Peele’s “Us” to second place. “Us” added $33.6 million, down only 53%, bringing its domestic total to $128.2 million in its second week. The Lupita Nyong’o doppelganger movie cost only $20 million to produce.
“For a horror, which generally have the scariest drops in the business, ‘Us’ is really holding in there,” Dergarabedian said. “It’s good news for Jordan Peele.”
Easing the “Dumbo” disappointment, Disney and Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” landed in third place in weekend four with an additional $20.5 million. It’s now earned over $350 million in North America and is expected to cross the $1 billion mark globally sometime this week.
The teen drama/romance “Five Feet Apart” with Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson took fourth place with $6.3 million, down only 27% in its third week.
And the pregnancy movie “Unplanned” rounded out the top five with $6.1 million from only 1,059 theaters. It’s another success for Pure Flix, which targets the faith-based audience.
“Serving that underserved audience can pay off quite well,” Dergarabedian said.
“Unplanned” tells the true story of Abby Johnson, who defected from Planned Parenthood to become a pro-life activist after witnessing an abortion at 13 weeks. The movie was partially financed by My Pillow founder Michael Lindell, who is a born-again Christian and outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump.
The film’s producers, who unsuccessfully fought to overturn the pic’s R-rating, note that Unplanneddidn’t have an easy road to the big screen. A number of TV networks declined to play ads for the film, while the movie’s Twitter account was briefly suspended Saturday morning.
On Friday, trailer views hovered at around 250,000. That stat swelled to 1.7 million views by Saturday morning.
“To bring the story of Abby Johnson to audiences and have them show up in such large numbers shows how abortion is so important to bring to audiences,” said Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott. “We hope that those on both sides of the debate will see Unplanned and begin to have their own dialogue. This film can be that spark to bring more hearts and minds to understanding the value of life.”
Not so lucky was “The Beach Bum,” a stoner-odyssey from the provocative filmmaker Harmony Korine starring Matthew McConaughey. It grossed only $1.8 million from 1,100 locations in its first weekend.
The weekend overall is down around 2% and the year is still lagging about 16.4%.
“Next week is going to have two of the biggest genres hitting the multiplex simultaneously,” noted Dergarabedian. The well-reviewed superhero pic “Shazam!” debuts along with a “Pet Sematary” remake.
North American Box Office
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
- “Dumbo,” $45 million.
2. “Us,” $33.6 million.
3. “Captain Marvel,” $20.5 million.
4. “Five Feet Apart,” $6.3 million.
5. “Unplanned,” $6.1 million.
6. “Wonder Park,” $4.9 million.
7. “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” $4.2 million.
8. “Hotel Mumbai,” $3.2 million.
9. Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral,” $2.7 million.
10. “The Beach Bum,” $1.8 million.
Worldwide Box Office
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:
1. “Dumbo,” $71 million.
2. “Captain Marvel,” $26.4 million.
3. “Us,” $22.6 million.
4. “Song of Youth,” $11.7 million.
5. “The Human Comedy,” $9.3 million.
6. “Mirage,” $8.9 million.
7. “More Than Blue,” $6.6 million.
8. “Five Feet Apart,” 6.2 million.
9. “Money,” $5.4 million.
10. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” $3.5 million.