BOX OFFICE: Tim Burton’s DUMBO Disappoints with Just $45 Million

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!
Tim Burton reunited with Walt Disney Pictures to turn the 1941 animated classic Dumbo into a live action film, but it didn’t fare nearly as well as their previous collaboration on Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp. That movie opened with $116 million in 2010 and grossed over a billion worldwide, one of Disney’s bigger hits before they bought Lucasfilm and took over the Marvel Studios releases.
By comparison, Dumbo opened with just $45 million (estimated) in 4,259 theaters i.e. less than half the opening of Alice. Burton’s Dumbo reunited the director with his Batman Returns stars Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito, and it also starred Colin FarrellEva Green (another Burton regular) and Alan Arkin, but it was the adorable CG elephant of the title that probably had the most impact with younger audiences.
Most of the projections for Dumbo were in the $40 to 50 million mark, although some thought the combination of Burton and Disney would amount to a larger opening, such as my own mid-$50 million prediction.
Jordan Peele‘s Us dropped to second place with $33.6 million (down 53%) but not before crossing the $100 million mark, making Peele the first African-American filmmaker to achieve that landmark with two original screenplays. It has grossed $128.2 million in North America, and that’s based on a reported $20 million budget, so it will be considered another success story for Universal and Blumhouse.
Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel also continues to do very well, crossing the $350 million mark domestically this weekend with a third place showing of $20.5 million, down 40% from last week. It is quickly edging its way to a billion worldwide with $990 million grossed so far, but it’s clearly going to be another one of Marvel’s bigger hits as well. It sees some direct comic book competition over the next couple weeks with New Line’s Shazam! opening Friday then Lionsgate’s Hellboy opening the following week.
The romantic drama Five Feet Apart continues to hold well, remaining in fourth place with $6.2 million with a gross of $35 million so far.
The R-rated anti-abortion biopic Unplanned from Pure Flix opened quite a bit better than I projected with an est. $6.1 million opening in 1,059, or about $5,770 per theater. That’s almost twice what I predicted on Wednesday, so clearly, Pure Flix continues to find its audience with its faith-based offerings.
Paramount’s Wonder Park and DreamWorks/Universal’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World took sixth and seventh place, the latter one of the year’s biggest hits after Captain Marvel despite being nearly $200 million behind it.
Bleecker Street expanded the real-life ensemble drama Hotel Mumbai, starring Dev Patel, Armie Hammer and Jason Isaacs, into 924 theaters where it grossed $3.2 million, which really isn’t bad considering the amount of stronger releases currently in theaters.
The only other new wide release was Harmony Korine‘s The Beach Bum, starring Matthew McConaughey, which NEON opened in 1,100 theaters on Friday. It only made an estimated $1.8 million over the weekend or $1,636 per theater, basically a bomb. Oddly, it ended up with similarly mixed reviews as both Dumbo and Unplanned, but clearly, Korine’s Spring Breakers was a fluke for the indie auteur.

This Week’s Top 10:

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 New Dumbo Disney $45 million N/A $45 million
2 1 Us Universal $33.6 million -53% $128.2 million
3 2 Captain Marvel Marvel/Disney $20.5 million -40% $353.8 million
4 4 Five Feet Apart CBS Films $6.2 million -27% $35.9 million
5 New Unplanned Pure Flix $6.1 million N/A $6.1 million
6 3 Wonder Park Paramount $4.9 million -44% $37.9 million
7 5 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World DreamWorks $4.2 million -35% $153 million
8 39 Hotel Mumbai Bleecker Street $3.2 million +3,492% $3.3 million
9 6 Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral Lionsgate $2.7 million -39% $70 million
10 New The Beach Bum NEON $1.8 million N/A $1.8 million

The top 3 movies helped this weekend surpass last year’s top 10 by about $13 million as last year saw Steven Spielberg‘s Ready Player One open with just under $42 million and Tyler Perry’s Acrimony took second place with a distant $17 million.
Check back on Wednesday for The Beat’s Box Office Preview which will look at DC Entertainment’s latest superhero movie Shazam!, the horror remake of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, and the civil rights drama The Best Of Enemies.


  1. I’ll pass on “Dumbo.” Aside from my lack of interest in a CGI elephant, Tim Burton has become one of my least favorite directors over the last 15 years, down there with Zack Snyder and Michael Bay.
    A Slate article noted that the movie’s villain is a businessman who buys up entertainment companies and lays off people. Just like Disney did with Fox.

  2. It just seemed like an odd pick. Who actually cares about Dumbo? I’ve never heard it listed as one of anyone’s favorite animated Disney films. I have no idea why Disney chose it. Not surprised in the slightest it didn’t take off (…oh. Didn’t intend that…).

  3. “Dumbo” is one of my favorite Disney animated features. It’s short and sweet at 64 minutes. I have no interest in seeing a remake that’s twice as long, especially not with Burton directing.
    It was done right the first time — if you can get past the black crows and their minstrel act.

  4. Fair enough. I didn’t say it was impossible, and to be fair, Dumbo’s the only VHS tape my family owned that got wrecked, and we never got a replacement, so I don’t remember the movie that much. Glad to hear from somebody who does like it so much, though.

  5. Just saw Us. Sensational movie, and it’s like, someone finally said something. Deserves its accolades.
    I was the only person in the cinema that laughed at the comedic bits.

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