Burton, Wahlberg Send September Slump to October
By John Hamann
October 2, 2016
A year ago, The Martian opened to an awesome $54 million on this very weekend. This year, films from Tim Burton and Mark Wahlberg can’t even combine to meet that mark, as we spend our seventh consecutive weekend without a $40 million plus earner.
Even the good films are heading off to die this fall box office season, as movies do not seem to be too high on anyone’s to-do list. It could be due to it being the best sporting time of year (baseball, football, hockey, golf), or that it’s been a good fall TV season (if you haven’t seen Atlanta on FX, track it down), but new movies are definitely not it again this weekend. Feeble openers include Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Tim Burton’s latest weird fantasy film, this time based on popular piece of kid-lit, Deepwater Horizon, a "based on true events" type flick with a cast including Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, and Kurt Russell, and Masterminds, the film that carried the most hope for Relativity as it came out bankruptcy protection. Unfortunately, it behaved more like The Disappointments Room than a successful comedy. The box office will have to wait another weekend to get rid of its limp.
At least opening at number one (which will likely be its only claim to fame) is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the latest from Tim Burton. The legendary director was trying to stop a pretty nasty losing streak with this fantastic effort but failed, and adds to a recent list of losers that includes Big Eyes, Frankenweenie, and Dark Shadows. None of these are truly bad films; they just failed to click Burton’s quirkiness with audience taste, and that happened again this weekend with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Tim Burton’s hits like Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride are all over 80% fresh, while Miss Peregrine is lower, currently at 63%.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children may have provided a round peg for an audience with a square hole. The film got started decently on Friday, earning $9 million, but this wasn’t enough for a big budget film based on a popular children’s book. The books are aimed at girls, and with this result, it looks like only book fans showed up for the movie. Fox was hoping for big matinees due to the YA target, but they failed to materialize, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children opened with a disappointing three-day take of $28.5 million. Fox went wide with this one, putting it out to 3,522 venues, and had more of Looking Glass result than an Alice in Wonderland outcome. The film I think about the most as a comparison is Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, another high stakes fantasy gamble aimed at the older kit set, and it imploded similarly, despite the presence of Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep. That one opened to $30 million domestically and finished with a little over $200 million worldwide, creating a large loss for that $140 million film.