This Box Office weekend sees the release of Disney’s 9th live-action reimagining of a beloved classic this decade, in ‘Dumbo’, which looks to fly in above $50m. It’ll face competition from the 2nd weekend of Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’, which will cruise across the $100m domestic mark by Sunday night. Further added to the mix is indie comedy ‘The Beach Bum’, and controversial Christian drama ‘Unplanned’, which will both battle for a top 10 finish among a congested crowd.

 

So, what’s opening this weekend?

Dumbo’, the 2nd film Disney remake directed by Tim Burton, opens in over 4,000 cinemas on Friday and looks to establish a comfortable win atop the charts with $53m. It’s quite a way behind Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ ($116.1m), which benefited from the ‘Avatar-induced 3-D craze a decade ago, as well as ‘Maleficent’ ($69.4m) and ‘Cinderella’ ($67.9m), whose critical reception and star power arguably dwarfed ‘Dumbo’s.

What ‘Dumbo’ does have working in its favour though, is an empty release schedule, that should help it not only comfortably beat the opening of recent family-fare ‘Wonder Park’ ($15.9m), but of other Disney releases like ‘Christopher Robin’ ($24.6m), ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ ($20.4m), and ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ ($33.1m). It’s also a remake of a beloved classic from 1941 – the oldest remade film so far.

At the time, ‘Dumbo’ was only Disney’s 4th ever movie, created to recoup money lost on flop ‘Fantasia’ months prior. It went onto win an Oscar for Best Original Score, and soon became one of Disney’s all-time greats. A lot to live up to then for this year’s film, which sees Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Eva Green star alongside the flying elephant.

Its critical reception pales in comparison to the original (55% vs. 97% on the Tomatometer), and its bloated $170m budget beats that of even ‘Captain Marvel’, yet there remains a quiet optimism that ‘Dumbo’ isn’t to suffer at the Box Office. It may not be a ‘Beauty and the Beast’, whose $1.26bn gross makes it the 14th biggest film of all time, but ‘Dumbo’ should end its run in the black, putting a smile on the faces of Disney execs at least.

After ‘Dumbo’ comes ‘The Beach Bum’ and ‘Unplanned’, 2 films of completely different genres and tastes. One is a stoner comedy from the director of ‘Spring Breakers’, which stars Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, and Zac Efron. The other is a Christian biographical drama, yet both are blessed with an R-rating (similar to a 15 in the U.K.).

It’s a rare sight for a film with biblical themes (‘Passion of the Christ’ aside) to have such a restrictive assessment, although it’s apparent ‘graphic’ scenes offer up much of an explanation. This will see the film struggle to open to $2m, while ‘The Beach Bum’ will look to hit $2.5m.

 

What else is on?

Blumhouse’s ‘Us’ will put up a good fight in its sophomore weekend, earning just under the $40m mark to give it a running domestic total of $130m. While this does leave it just $30m short of ‘Halloween’s entire $159.3m gross, it marks a steep fall of -47%, especially when compared to ‘Get Out’s -15%, and even ‘A Quiet Place’s -34%. Perhaps the anticipation was greater for this one, opened more similarly to a superhero movie like ‘Venom’ than it did your normal horror. Still, word of mouth alone won’t let this film die, with dreams of reaching the $200m mark in the U.S. still very much alive. It’ll finish this weekend just behind ‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’ as the 3rd biggest film in the U.S. after just 10 days of release. After 2019’s slow start, we’re starting to see a goldrush.