WEEKEND MOVIES: Will “Dumbo” fly or flop?


The tracking on Tim Burton’s live action remake of “Dumbo” has been all over the place. I have read numbers as low as the mid-20s and and high as $58 million for the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Alice in Wonderland” director’s grim and depressing take on the little elephant with the big, big ears.

Deadline.com is projecting something in the $57+ range, but pre-release tracking has been terrible — no web searches for the trailer and title these past two weeks, for starters. IMDb searches of the title in preparation for going? Pre-sales? Fuggedaboutit.

Read this Box Office Mojo analysis. They won’t come right out and say it, but tracking on “Dumbo” domestically is right about “Christopher Robin” (well under $30 million). Reviews have been downright downbeat for this dark and glum remake of a much-loved musical with a sad undertone. Burton kept the sad, made it the overtone and stripped the music and comedy out of it.

And what Burton does to the film’s version of Disneyland in the finale doesn’t take a shrink to analyze.

“Us” could conceivably beat “Dumbo” if the CGI “live action” mashup underwhelms. But I wonder if Mojo’s $40 million take for Jordan Peele’s sophomore venture into horror isn’t generous. When too many of the more overly sympathetic reviewers are saying “You need to see it two or three times to get it” (maybe, probably not) you know it’s not exactly clicking the way “Get Out” did. Cinema Tracking scores of B- from audiences suggest it’ll drop below $40 on its second weekend, even if the curious show up to see what all the fuss and confusion are about.

An anti-abortion drama “Unplanned” was shown to true believers (not critics) pre-release, and could make a few million. I will try and get to that tonight. And Matthew McConaughey’s “The Beach Bum” looks like a bomb.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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