Box Office: ‘Deepwater Horizon’ No Match for Tim Burton’s ‘Miss Peregrine’s’

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Tim Burton has had a rough spell at the box office. “Big Eyes” was an Oscar contender that failed to grab any gold, “Frankenweenie” was a bridge too bizarre for family crowds, and “Dark Shadows,” starring Johnny Depp, revived a campy ’60s show that most of America had forgotten. Burton, once a reliable purveyor of popcorn hits, hasn’t scored since 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

But the director of “Batman” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is on firmer ground with “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” an adaptation of the best-selling novel about a young boy who is taken in by an orphanage populated by children with extraordinary powers. It’s mixture of the magical and the macabre seems a perfect fit for Burton’s quirky sensibility. The film is expected to open in first place, with roughly $26 million when it debuts in 3,520 locations. Fox is distributing the film, which will need to do well overseas if it wants to recoup its $110 million budget and start a franchise.

It’s been a difficult month at the multiplexes. Clint Eastwood’s “Sully” was an awards-season success and should close its run with more than $100 million in domestic ticket sales, but the likes of “Blair Witch,” “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” and “Storks” all failed to connect with consumers. This weekend is shaping up to be another difficult year-over-year comparison, with newcomers such as “Miss Peregrine’s” and “Deepwater Horizon” failing to match the windfall enjoyed by “The Martian.” That Matt Damon blockbuster opened over the same weekend in 2015 to a massive $54.3 million.

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Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children

Film Review: Tim Burton’s ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’

“On paper it seemed like there’d be something for everyone this month, but nobody seems to be in the mood to go to the movies,” said Shawn Robbins, senior analyst for BoxOffice.com. He hopes that ticket sales will rebound when “The Girl on the Train,” “Doctor Strange,” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” begin rolling out in the coming weeks.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” should displace last weekend’s champ, “The Magnificent Seven” from its perch atop charts. The Western remake is expected to bring in $16 million in its sophomore weekend in theaters. That may be enough to snag a second-place finish. It all depends on how  Lionsgate’s “Deepwater Horizon” plays. The true-life story about the men and women who were caught up in one of the worst oil spills in history reunites the “Lone Survivor” team of Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg. The pair’s previous film debuted to a whooping $37.8 million, but their latest collaboration is facing fiercer headwinds. “Deepwater Horizon” is shaping up to open to $18 million, which would be a poor result given its $110 million production cost. It will unroll on more than 3,200 screens.

Reviews have been sterling, and the film currently holds an 85% “fresh” rating,” so Lionsgate hopes that the picture will get a boost from the critics. As for Wahlberg and Berg, they’ll have another opportunity at the plate when “Patriots Day,” a look at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, bows on Dec. 21. Lionsgate will distribute and co-finance that movie along with CBS Films.

In addition to the two big new releases, Disney will also try to expand “Queen of Katwe,” after the inspirational drama about a chess champion from Uganda failed to make a big stir in limited release last weekend. The film should generate about $5 million, but the studio is hopeful that word-of-mouth could help the film build an audience organically. “Queen of Katwe” cost $15 million to produce, making it a small bet for the Mouse House. But it’s also the kind of movie that Disney doesn’t really make any longer. Although the studio has experimented with more modestly budgeted dramas such as “Million Dollar Arm” and “McFarland, USA” in recent years, Disney is primarily in the blockbuster business. It makes Marvel adventures, Pixar yarns, and animated fare — films that sell toys and merchandise. For all of its virtues, that’s not “Queen of Katwe.”

Then there’s Relativity Media’s “Masterminds,” a comedy about a bank heist that stars Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis. The film was originally slated to debut in August of 2015, but was held up for over a year after Relativity slid into bankruptcy. The studio managed to hold onto the title throughout the Chapter 11 process and, at one point, thought that it had commercial potential. In bankruptcy filings, the studio predicted that “Masterminds” would rack up $125.4 million in revenues over its lifetime, with roughly $47.1 million in profit. That tidy little profit could be hard to achieve given how “Masterminds” is tracking. The film is expected to debut to $10 million. Relativity’s most recent release, “The Disappointments Room,” collapsed when it debuted earlier this month, making less than $3 million.

Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is trying to gin up excitement for “Masterminds” on Twitter by promising to drop $100,000 on audiences for the film. It could be a joke or he could literally be paying people to see his movie.

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  1. Dee says:

    Wait: WHY should we feel Mr.Lang’s suppositions about “Miss Peregrine’s Home…” are accurate when one of the first statements about other recent releases — third paragraph — seem to be completely uninformed. He states “Sully”, the Clint Eastwood-directed film, “should close its run” north of 100 million, but…it’s ALREADY made $131 million worldwide, $94 million of that domestic. He also states that the new Bridget Jones movie “failed to connect” with viewers, but THAT film has a current, worldwide, gross of $85 million — with a $60 million budget — after less than two weeks in release.

    To be fair, Brent Lang isn’t the ONLY film “analyst” editor who works with blinders on. The people in charge of “Box Office Mojo” regularly fail to report the FULL, world wide, box office take on MOST of the movies released (they are fairly accurate where blockbusters are concerned, but even then, if a film is deemed a dud early on, that site is highly inaccurate most of the time.

    Films have LONG been a worldwide commodity. Isn’t it about time American film reviewers and commentators start reflecting some awareness about that in their articles?

    • macd says:

      Thank you, Dee! I’d like to add to your remarks that Rotten Tomatoes is also a joke. A majority of movies actually receive “mixed” reviews from trustworthy critics. But RT doesn’t provide “mixed” as an option. Therefore, many reviews that are obviously mixed are usually pushed into the “fresh” category, much to the delight of their distributors–and to the chagrin of moviegoers!

  2. harry georgatos says:

    $26 million opening weekend is not a good projection if Burton’s latest wants to recoup it’s investment from a $110 million budget plus marketing costs. $26 million would be disastrous.

  3. Damon Tammas says:

    So if past “Critical” reviews hold, it will have to make 700 million at the box office to break even? Good luck, it looks very interesting, actually.

  4. KB says:

    It’s not really the movies that keeps people from going, but the audience itself. Lately it’s spending money, only to have people glued to their phones (the glare of their phones distracting many throughout), or having to listen to constant chattering throughout. People are getting fed up with the distractions and don’t want to drop the money to sit through it. Why pay huge sums of money, only to have fellow moviegoers distracting you ? It’s not worth it.

  5. EricJ says:

    Oh, we REMEMBERED Dark Shadows–That’s why we hated Tim’s off-topic self-indulgent title grab, just because he wanted to do Addams Family instead. We’re still waiting for a real Dark Shadows movie, if anyone else ever wants to try it again.
    And the reason we ignored Frankenweenie wasn’t “bizarre”, it was the opposite: It was 00’s Burton trying to go back and do 80’s Burton, and proving he couldn’t do it anymore without trotting out his usual “Persecuted weird” shticks and default repertory company. If anything proved 00’s Burton was now permanently on auto-pilot, you couldn’t get a more ironic symbol of it than this one.

    (And yes, nobody goes to movies in October, with the kids in school and the November hits around the corner, but even -fewer- want to see Bridget Jones.
    And I hear Storks is getting good reviews, which is impossible for most audiences to believe, looking at the marketing. It was only a bad summer that made us go see Secret Life of Pets.)

    • cadavra says:

      Like most of its disparagers, you clearly didn’t see DARK SHADOWS–merely the horribly misleading trailer. If you had, you would have seen a reverent, gorgeous, Gothic romance-cum-horror movie that was everything DS fans had hoped for. But Warners botched the marketing (and the release date) big-time, leaving those of us who actually did see it to clean up the mess they made.

      And FTR, Variety: DARK SHADOWS was the 60s, not the 70s. It’s called Google; look into it.

      • cadavra says:

        You are perfectly entitled to hate the movie. But the original commenter misrepresented it as a spoof, which he was NOT entitled to do.

      • KB says:

        I watched Dark Shadows, and I am sorry but it really stunk. It just can’t hold a candle to the original series, or the remake with Ben Cross.

      • Normandy says:

        Dark Shadows was shit. We saw it, unfortunately. Nothing like the original show or even the Ben Cross remake.

    • tommymarx65 says:

      Normally, I’m not into negative comments, especially ones that manage to disparage several movies in one swoop. But I have to say, I agree with every single thing said. It’s not that people don’t want to see movies. They just don’t want to see crap movies.

      • KB says:

        Deepwater Horizon is a fantastic movie. I saw a sneak preview, and it was amazing. There hasn’t been too many movies lately that I want to see, because 95% of them look like crap. So I am biding my time, until I see one that I want to go watch.

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