BOX OFFICE: “Dumbo” lifts off — barely, “Us” plunges, “Unplanned” opens at $6 million


Let’s open with this caveat. always always ALWAYS underestimates the performance of kids’ movies, based on their Thursday night-Friday box office take.

Saturday is the make or break day for any cartoon or live action “family” flick, and Deadline doesn’t have a magic formula (nor do the studios which provide them this data) for guessing Saturday based on what Friday looks like.

Why do I keep referencing their numbers when looking at the box office? Because they’re the only ones to update their prognostication based on Friday’s take. And what they’re saying, based on Friday, is that “Dumbo” is falling right into the mid-range of what Tim Burton’s live action/CGI remake of a Disney cartoon classic was going to make, with estimates ranging from a disastrous $26 million to a face-saving (still not great) $57 million.

It is on track to earn $44 million, per Deadline. Take that with a grain of salt. They lowballed “Us” all last weekend, too, so maybe they need to have better sources (as do I, but again, they’re the only ones to update Sat. predictions.).

“Dumbo” had very little online search for the title data, and limited pre-sales and poor reviews to boot. Burton strips most of the songs out of it, uses the guy with no real big screen comedy or kiddie movie experience to script it — no, “Arlington Heights” wasn’t a “family” movie — and delivers a glum, depressing circus and Disneyland-bashing version of the story. It’s a depressing pre-Great Depression weeper that doesn’t draw tears or elicit laughs.


“Us” had a huge first weekend, but you had to feel, based on the nature of the reviews (most tracked lukewarm, like mine) and audience Cinema Score exit polling (B-) that this thing wasn’t going to do repeat business or great word of mouth.

A $33 million second weekend for “Us,” even if it’s dragging in a lot of “Let’s see what everybody was talking about,” is still a 65% plummet from its opening weekend. That’s the real verdict for a hyped beyond measure picture. Did “A Quiet Place” or “Get Out” ever fall that far, weekend to weekend? No, they did not.

The Pure Flix abortion drama “Unplanned” is doing a robust $6 million from the faithful. Funny thing, Pure Flix is now a major player in Hollywood. And their movies, ostensibly faith-based, are the most political pictures to come out of Hollywood — “God’s Not Dead,” etc. They’re making money playing on Christian victimhood and raging about it. Want to know why churchgoing is falling faster than the second weekend take of “Us?” Politics. Thanks, Billy Graham (his real legacy). Thanks, Pure Flix.

Neon’s “The Beach Bum” is the sort of movie Matthew McConaughey used to make before he won an Academy Award and started driving Lincolns. It’s one of those “JK Livin'” laid back character comedies that plays up his hedonist/Texas surfer side. And it’s bombing, a $1.8 million opening weekend, barely cracking the top ten.

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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2 Responses to BOX OFFICE: “Dumbo” lifts off — barely, “Us” plunges, “Unplanned” opens at $6 million

  1. Lottie Bachman says:

    You have definately missed the success of Unplanned. Sad…but maybe you could report information without your unchristian interpretation as to it’s success! Offensive!

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