UPDATE, 2nd SUNDAY AM Update 9:30AM after 8:08AM post: With chart Disney’s Dumbo didn’t leave a big footprint with a meh $45M opening after a $17.5M Saturday, which, next to Friday-plus previews, is +16%. This is not one of the better openings for a tentpole-conceived live action remake of a Disney ‘toon from a marquee director. After shelling out $170M to make a movie based on a 78-year old Disney cornerstone character, this can’t be celebrated as a grand slam in the wake of Beauty and the Beast, Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Maleficent. Sorry, Dumbo didn’t soar, but he wasn’t completely grounded either. Disney is calling Dumbo at $45M, which is under the $50M+ start they hoped for and the crazy $60M estimates a couple of B.O. analysts were seeing.
As we said in the previous update, Dumbo wasn’t a case of the studio fumbling marketing. He’s just an old, melancholy elephant, even if he does fly, and, well, that’s not a sell-out.
When it comes to their brands, Disney likes to emphasize how their properties (like the tired Cars) go well beyond the big screen into theme parks and merchandising sales. Their characters’ lives don’t end at the big screen. That said, it’s fair to say that the so-so stateside performance of Dumbo won’t shorten lines for the ride at Disneyland parks, or send his plush animal sales into the tank. But it’s probably unlikely anyone will be dressing up as Jumbo Jr. at Halloween, a la Elsa a year after the massive Frozen was released. Whether critics liked Dumbo or not, Disney entrusted Burton to make the most authentic Dumbo as possible, and, in the end, the pachyderm pic isn’t so horrible that he’s tarnished his brand.
Essentially, the studio can check off a box that they made a Dumbo live action film and branched out a 78-year old property. And Disney can take such gambles on live-action family fare, like Wrinkle in Time last year, since they have a slate of Marvel fare to bail them out.
Also, Dumbo skews way younger: 51% of those between 7-9 made up the majority of kids under 12 in PostTrak exits. Fifty-nine percent were under-25, with 41% under 17 years old. The mix was 53% Caucasian, 24% Hispanic, 14% Asian/Other & 9% African-American. Dumbo played best in the West, Mid & South-West. Nine out of the top three runs came from there, with one in NY. IMAX & PLF accounted for 20% of the BO, while 3-D made up only 12.5% (some of which was included in the IMAX & PLF). Hopefully, the A- CinemaScore pans out for the pic’s word of mouth in weeks to come.
Jordan Peele’s Us from Universal, a solid hold for a horror pic, -53% with $33.6M. In a recent Fandango poll, 1,000 moviegoers said 77% were seeing Us again while 80% of repeat viewers think the movie should be part of this year’s awards conversation.
Pure Flix for a while released their movies without distribution partners, i.e. Freestyle, with the 2014 Lent sleeper God’s Not Dead, which opened to $9.2M and did a 6.6 multiple for a final $60.7M. But among their own distributed product under their faith-based label, their challenged, anti-abortion film Unplanned turned out to be PureFlix’s second-best opening of all-time with $6.1M, after 2016’s God’s Not Dead 2 ($7.6M). Remarkable, considering that the film was rated R, still pulled in its faith-based followers, with the distributor boxed out from running TV spots on most major cable networks and Christian radio.
Bleecker Street/ShivHans’ Hotel Mumbai made $3.1M, with the wider audience in weekend 2 rating the film at 77% positive with a 50% recommend, which won’t get the film very far in the long run. Those who showed were 52% Female and, surprisingly, 63% under 35-years-old, with the largest quad being 25-34 at 30%. The mix was 51% Caucasian, 25% Asian/Other, 17% Hispanic, & 7% African-American. Hotel Mumbai played best on the coasts, where 9 of the top 10 runs came from, and the big cities clearly lead the way.
NEON is calling Matthew McConaughey’s stoner movie The Beach Bum from Harmony Korine at $1.8M (some rivals see it at $1.6M). Again, lowest opening for the Oscar winner for a pic released on 1,000 screens, and the result is much lower than the 1,104 theater launch of A24’s Spring Breakers which debuted to $4.8M and in all fairness had more of a millennial draw with stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and James Franco than this pic.
WEEKEND B.O. FOR MARCH 29-31
UPDATE, SATURDAY AM 2nd Update: Dumbo doesn’t stink like the elephant pen at the zoo, but his estimated $15.2M Friday and $46.1M isn’t a skyrocket in flight, either. If this Disney $170M live action adaptation of the classic 1941 feature ‘toon is going to clear $50M for the weekend, Jumbo Jr. is going to have to flap to $22M today off matinees, which is 45% more than Friday, and right now he’s likely to land around $19M, +25% per industry estimates. Some think that may not be possible, that many kids were off from school yesterday, and today could be flat with $15.6M to $16M. The $15.2M reported for Dumbo‘s Friday this morning is a slight improvement on last night’s reported $14.8M (which includes Thursday previews).
Dumbo‘s projected opening is significantly lower than the debuts for Disney’s previous live action adaptations, i.e. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland ($116.1M), which arrived around the 3D boom of 2010, lower than The Jungle Book ($103.2M), lower than the Sleeping Beauty spinoff, Maleficient ($69.4M), and lower than Cinderella ($67.8M).
While Disney never saw Dumbo at these projections in their pre-tracking this week (they were hoping for $50Ms), Dumbo isn’t what we’ve come to expect from the studio in regards to its glossy ‘toon live action remakes. As the saying went with Wrinkle in Time, whatever the loss here on Dumbo, Disney can make up for it with the profits on Avengers: Endgame alone. They have the power to make risky bets on screen.
On the bright side, Dumbo roared to an A- CinemaScore, which is the same grade as director Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. But with general audiences, the pachyderm pic only gets 3 1/2 stars on PostTrak and 4 1/2 stars with parents and kids under 12. General audiences made up 53% of tonight’s crowd, parents 16% and kids 32%. Hopefully, the better side to these exits impact the pic’s prospects today.
Disney, through the power of it vertical integration via radio, theme parks, YouTube portals, ABC and the Disney Channel, is always good about letting the world know they’re opening a movie. But they have two types of live action remakes when it comes to their animation vault: The popular, branded, very expensive, glitzy cast and household-name-director ones, like Beauty and the Beast and the smaller, lower-budgeted titles like Christopher Robin ($99.2M) and Pete’s Dragon ($76.2M). The mistake made with Dumbo, despite Burton’s beautiful fingerprints, is that Dumbo should have fallen in the latter category. “Who was the audience? How well is the property known? Where was the fun? Why did the trailer not have fun moments? How did they spend ~$300mm+ in aggregate on a non multi-quadrant picture?” cried one film finance executive to us about Dumbo.
As I mentioned in the preview, Dumbo‘s hang-up is that he’s based on an IP that’s 78 years old. The movie is an old fashioned, slow-paced story. While Burton has had circus-themed pics before (i.e. the misfire Big Fish at $122.9M WW, and there’s a circus thing going on in Batman Returns), his ‘A’ game with event titles resides in snappy story lines, colorful, absurdist characters, and musical numbers. Critics have shackled Dumbo with a 52% Rotten Score. Beauty and the Beast, Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella all sell the dazzle of the Disney princess universe. Jungle Book is a bouncy adventure musical with vibrant characters. Aladdin should bode well with its fun trailers, and there’s that extra appeal for the Gen X 1990 crowd with one of their favorite stars of the era, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air himself, Will Smith, as the Genie.
However, what does Dumbo sell? Sadness, animal cruelty, loss of parents. Who wants to line up for that? The Dumbo ride at Disneyland has more thrills. The last re-release was in 1976 on the big screen, so if you’re close to 50, Dumbo might mean something to you (that said, only 13% over 45 showed up). We hear that on social media, there wasn’t any heat on several of the pic’s materials, not in the way that Disney pulls off with such pics as the upcoming live action and beloved ’90s classic The Lion King (third most-watched trailer of all-time at 224.6M) or even the upcoming animated Frozen 2 (at 116.4M).
Of those that attended Dumbo, females under 25 at 31% were the biggest demo, followed by females over 25 (28%), men under 25 (25%) and guys over 25 (16%) in ComScore/PostTrak exits. 57% were Caucasian, 22% Hispanic, 9% Asian, and 8% African-American. Girls under 12 at 59% outnumbered boys at 41%. In combined demos, those 18-24 were the largest demo at 19%, followed by 25-34 at 18%, which means a millennial crowd showed up — just not in the great dollar amount the film required.
Says social media analyst RelishMix, “Disney enthusiasts say they might wait to see what the reviews are before showing up to Dumbo. This contingent is also skeptical that Tim Burton was the right choice to helm the re-imagining. Still other naysayers are asking how many of these remakes are necessary – and in the case of Dumbo, if the effort is taken to make a live-action version. Also, where are the mice and the beloved co-stars of the original animated classic?”
Also, low social media cast/director wattage here, with Burton leading the way with 5.1M fans on Facebook and Danny DeVito with 4M on Facebook. “Big stars like Colin Farrell and Eva Green are not on social media, and the younger co-stars have a smaller social reach,” says RelishMix. Beauty and the Beast had the social media wattage of its lead actress Emma Watson, and pop star Ariana Grande with its title song. Dumbo doesn’t have those types of social media stars to help with lift-off.
While Jordan Peele’s Us doesn’t have the jaw-dropping second weekend dip that Get Out did at -15%, the Universal release’s weekend 2 decline of $34.1M, -52%, is still respectable, as the typical horror pic drops, on average, -60% to -65%. African-Americans are leading the way in PostTrak exits this weekend at 37%, followed by Caucasian at 32%, Hispanic at 19% and Asian 7%. Close to an even four-quad movie here, age-wise, which is how a studio likes it. Men under 25 (27% who gave the pic its best demo grades at 84% positive), Men over 25 (21%), Females under 25 (25%) and Females over 25 (26%). Ten day total is $128.7M.
We’ll expound more in the AM, but PureFlix’s anti-abortion movie Unplanned, despite all the controversy and the fact that the distributor couldn’t get cable ad spot time or even Christian radio airtime, is shaping up to be their second-best opening ever since they handled their own titles theatrically, with $6.7M after God’s Not Dead 2 ($7.6M). Four stars on PostTrak, 80% positive and a 65% definite recommend from its audience. Females over 25 at 51% were the biggest draw, followed by Men over 25 (27%), Females under 25 (13%), and Males under 25 (10%). Females liked the movie better than guys, 81% to 77%, but the younger under-25 crowd enjoyed the movie more than those over that age, 87% to 78%. Unplanned hits theaters at a time when Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill” is sitting on the state governor’s desk, which would create the biggest restrictions on abortion in the country. Unplanned played best in the Mid-West and South where 9 of the top 10 runs were.
RelishMix remarks, “The true notable for Unplanned is the real-life personality Abby Johnson, who is promoting the film with the same vigor as her book and talks over the past several years…Still, social media is challenging when it comes to predictions for faith-based movies, as often seen in the past the audience is not necessarily heavy social users. Also, these films often have awareness built from the ground up via churches and faith based communities who don’t necessarily lean on social for spreading the word about the film in question.”
Bleecker Street/ShivHans acquisition of Weinstein Co.’s Hotel Mumbai via Lantern in its weekend 2 wide break is making $3.1M in 8th place at 924 venues for a $3.2M ten-day total. 3 1/2 stars and a 48% definite recommend on PostTrak isn’t the strongers, but Men under 25, the pic’s third biggest demo at 20% loved the pic the most at 93% positive. Men over 25 the biggest group at 33% liked it the least at 69%, with females over 25 (28% turnout, 77% positive), and Females under 25 (19% with an 85% positive).
NEON’s The Beach Bum is grossing $1.7M for the weekend at 1,015, and reps Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey’s lowest opening ever for a wide release over 1,000 theaters. Beach Bum is lower in its estimated 3-day than the actor’s January disaster Serenity, which was shortchanged by Aviron in its P&A, though the movie opened in a wider number of theaters during weekend 1 at 2,561, earning $4.4M. McConaughey’s Mud even opened to more money with $2.2M, and that was on fewer screens at 363. Prior to Beach Bum, McConaughey’s lowest lead actor opening was for Weinstein Co’s Gold, which debuted to $3.4M. Granted, helmer Harmony Korine is an acquired test, and Beach Bum was an indie pic made for a very low reported $5M. McConaughey was passionate about the movie, we hear, and he’s fearless about making edgy fare. The movie was originally supposed to be at 700-800 theaters, and NEON grabbed 200 extra for 1,000-plus this weekend.
A24 went in another direction with Korine’s bikini caper Spring Breakers, which starred James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez, starting off at 3 locations in its opening weekend, then hitting 1,104 theaters in weekend 2 (for a $4.8M, a number higher than Beach Bum‘s ticket sales). Critics liked Spring Breakers more than Beach Bum, 66% fresh to 51% Rotten. Final B.O. was $14.8M. From NEON’s optics, Beach Bum is going to do fine for them after all ancillaries. P&A was mostly digital and social in order to reach Korine’s fanbase.
If only PostTrak audiences were actually high when they saw the movie, they may have given this alright grades. But no, with a paltry 2 1/2 stars and a low blow definite recommend of 36%. Men under and over 25 came out equally at 31%. Beach Bum played best in West & South-West, but even there it wasn’t great, we hear.
The pic received a jump in its social media from the Snoop Dogg and McConaughey appearance on Kimmel, which drew 1.8M views on YouTube. That said, RelishMix notices that “the cast is mixed as to its activation, with McConaughey sharing materials – but big co-stars on social like Snoop and Zac Efron are decidedly quiet. Convo is easily mixed…For those who don’t enjoy movies like Pineapple Express, they’re just as confused, as McConaughey was hanging with Snoop on set.”
CHART UPDATING …..
BOX OFFICE FOR MARCH 29-31
UPDATED, Friday midday: Disney’s Dumbo is flying in lower than the $50 million-plus tracking expected with an estimated $46M-$49M weekend off a $15M first day. It is not what we typically expect from the uber-event Disney live-action remakes of its toon vault (meaning, the bigger branded animated classics like Maleficent and Cinderella). Critics have whipped Jumbo Jr. hard at 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. though a lot can change for this $170M-budgeted pic (not counting global P&A) by tomorrow with matinees.
Universal’s Us is looking at $32M, a nice -55% hold, with Friday at $9M sending the Jordan Peele-directed horror pic past $100M today. By Sunday, Us will stand at $126.6M. Get Out ended its domestic run at $176M.
As for Disney’s Captain Marvel, hear her roar with a fourth weekend of $20M, off 42%, at 3,985 locations. This would put Ms. Marvel at $353.3M by Sunday.
PureFlix’s controversial anti-abortion drama Unplanned is doing better than the low-single digits expected with $6.5M this weekend after an opening day of $2.5M that includes $700K in previews.
Bleecker Street/ShivHans’ Hotel Mumbai goes wide today from four New York-Los Angeles sites last week to 924 theaters. It’s at $900K today with $250K from last night’s shows, heading to a $2.5M second weekend.
NEON’s The Beach Bum looks to smoke $600K today, including revised previews of $175K from last night, for a $1.7M three-day todal. Movie has 50% Rotten Tomatoes score while Hotel Mumbai‘s is 73% fresh.
PREVOUSLY, Friday 8:08 AM: Disney’s Dumbo‘s started its weekend romp with $2.6 million off showtimes that began at 6 PM on Thursday. Projections have been wild for the Tim Burton-directed pic, with tracking figuring between $50M-$60M, and recent buzz in the last couple of days that the movie could open in the $40M range. There aren’t any films for families currently in the marketplace, which is the reason some are betting that Dumbo is higher.
How Dumbo stacks up to previous Thursday nights for Disney’s live action toons:
— Disney’s Cinderella made $2.3M back in mid-March 2015, repping 10% of her $23M Friday, and a $67.8M three-day.
— Beauty and the Beast, of course, owns the record for the studio subgenre with a Thursday night preview at $16.3M.
— Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland made $4.5M in previews in March 2010, but those started at 12 AM and only repped 11% of its opening-day $40.8M Friday, on its way to a $116.1M weekend. It was a different era when the Thursday night preview was coming to fruition. Burton’s previous movie for Fox, 2016’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, drew $1.2M on its Thursday night. The good news is that Dumbo‘s evening was higher than the results for Disney’s Memorial Day sequel disaster Alice Through the Looking Glass (not directed by Burton) which made $1.5M on its first Thursday before breaking down with
–Jungle Book bowed in the middle of April earned $4.2M in Thursday night previews, which was 13% of its $32M Friday, for a massive $103.2M opening weekend.
Today, Dumbo widens to 4,259 theaters made up of 2,900 3D locations, 400 Imax screens, 650 Premium Large Format screens, and 250 D-Box/4D locations.
Universal’s Us made $4.5M yesterday in the top spot among regular pics in release. The Jordan Peele-directed movie was down 12% from Wednesday with its first week grossing $94.6M.
NEON and Vice are opening Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum today in 1,010 theaters. Industry estimates figure the stoner comedy starring Matthew McConaughey made $200,000 last night in previews. The film also stars Snoop Dog, Zac Efron, Isla Fisher, Martin Lawrence, Jimmy Buffett and Stefania LaVie Owens. Beach Bum is NEON’s second original production after Apollo 11, which has made an estimated $7.2M to date through four weeks. This week alone the space documentary grossed $1.1M at 586 locations.
On the other side of the specialty spectrum, there’s PureFlix’s anti-abortion movie Unplanned, which was slapped with an R rating by the MPAA that will ward off the pic’s key Christian demographic. It’s the faith-based distributor’s first R-rating. Many networks have refused to air spots for the pic due to its “sensitive” nature, and those include Lifetime, Hallmark, HGTV, Cooking Channel, Food Network and Travel Channel. Ditto for Christian Radio stations. Unplanned follows a young Planned Parenthood director who is asked to assist in an abortion at 13 weeks gestation. Instead, she resigns, becoming a pro-life activist. Unplanned is booked at roughly 1,060 theaters. Industry projections aren’t hopeful for this one.