×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Steve Carell’s ‘Welcome to Marwen’ to Lose $50 Million at Box Office

It’s shaping up to be a pretty bleak holiday season for Steve Carell and Robert Zemeckis after “Welcome to Marwen” flopped last weekend in spectacular fashion. The $40 million drama about a man’s attempts to overcome his PTSD is one of the biggest bombs of the year, debuting to a disastrous $2.4 million from 1,191 theaters. It stands to lose between $45 million to $50 million when marketing and distribution costs are taken into account, according to rival studio executives, an embarrassing result for both Carell and Zemeckis.

Welcome to Marwen” is also the worst wide-release major studio debut of 2018 — tying with Johnny Knoxville’s dud “Action Point” for that ignominious distinction — and a career-worst wide-release start for the A-list actor and the director. Compounding the pervasive air of disaster, “Welcome to Marwen” is the second big turkey for Universal Studios in as many weeks. The studio also stands to lose $125 million-plus on “Mortal Engines,” a Peter Jackson fantasy that has grossed an anemic $54.3 million globally.

Universal did limit its exposure on “Welcome to Marwen.” The film is co-financed by DreamWorks and its slate financing partner Perfect World is an investor. Despite ending the year on a sour note, Universal has fielded a number of hits, including “Halloween,” “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch,” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

Exhibitors have been privately warning that “Welcome to Marwen” was shaping up to be a bust after previewing the picture. The studio will have trouble holding screens for the film in the coming days and weeks because it’s a competitive time of year and theaters will want to give space to holiday hits such as “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns.”

“Welcome to Marwen” is based on the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and centers on the true story of Mark Hogancamp, a man who recovered from a brutal assault by creating a miniature World War II-era village and populating it with figurines. Reviews were not kind. The film holds a meager 25% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics such as Variety’s Owen Gleiberman faulting the film for being dramatically inert.

“The film is far from incompetent, and it brims with ambition, but too much of the time what’s happening just sits there,”Gleiberman wrote. “It’s a lavishly odd concoction, like a feel-good movie for OCD miniature-world Barbie-doll fetishists.”

It also continues a downward trajectory at the box office for both Zemeckis and Carell. After creating commercials smashes such as “Forest Gump” and “What Lies Beneath” in the 1990s and early aughts, Zemeckis has faltered of late. His recent films such as “Allied” and “The Walk” have bombed, with only the Denzel Washington drama “Flight” managing to find an audience. Carell has been successful as the voice of Gru in the “Despicable Me” movies, but recent starring vehicles such as “Beautiful Boy” and “Battle of the Sexes” have fared poorly. The actor has a key supporting role playing Donald Rumsfeld in “Vice,” a satire about Dick Cheney that opens on Christmas.

More Film

  • Critics Week

    Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils Its Lineup

    Lorcan Finnegan’s science-fiction thriller “Vivarium” with Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Jérémy Clapin’s fantasy-filled animated feature “I Lost My Body,” and Hlynur Pálmason’s Icelandic drama “A White, White Day” are among the 11 films set to compete at Critics’ Week, the section dedicated to first and second films that runs parallel with the Cannes Film [...]

  • China Box Office: 'Wonder Park' Fails

    China Box Office: 'Wonder Park' Fails to Impress While 'P Storm' Rages On

    Even on one of the quietest weekends of the year, new U.S. animated release “Wonder Park” failed to inspire Chinese audiences as much as Hong Kong and Indian movies already in their third weekend in theaters. Starring the voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, and Ken Jeong, among many others, the film [...]

  • David Picker dead

    David Picker, Studio Chief Who Acquired James Bond Novels for UA, Dies at 87

    David Picker, who headed United Artists, Paramount and Columbia’s motion picture divisions and was known for forging relationships with groundbreaking filmmakers and material, died Saturday in New York. He was 87 and had been suffering from colon cancer. MGM tweeted, “We are saddened to hear that a member of the United Artists family has passed [...]

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International

    'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International Box Office With $30 Million

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” led the way at the international box office, summoning $30 million when it opened in 71 foreign markets. The supernatural thriller collected $26.5 million in North America for a global start of $56.5 million. “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore about the Weeping Woman, [...]

  • Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona'

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Wins Worst Easter Weekend in Over a Decade

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” ascended to the top of domestic box office charts, conjuring $26.5 million when it opened in 3,372 North American theaters. “La Llorona” is the latest horror movie to outperform expectations, further cementing the genre as one of the most reliable box office draws. Even so, [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content