Disney’s live-action re-imagining of Walt Disney’s animated 1941 classic Dumbo reportedly cost the studio $170 million, soaring above the budgets of Marvel Studios blockbusters Captain Marvel and Ant-Man and the Wasp. The Brie Larson-led Captain Marvel carried a production budget of $152 million (per Variety) while the Ant-Man sequel, pairing Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as superhero partners, cost somewhere around $162 million (per Variety).
The Tim Burton-directed Dumbo comes nearly a decade after the Batman and Edwards Scissorhands filmmaker won Disney $1.025 billion at the worldwide box office with the Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska-starring Alice in Wonderland, the 3D spectacle that ignited Disney’s modern strategy of mining its animated catalogue and transforming its most iconic films into live-action reboots. Dumbo, which launches tomorrow, has since debuted on Rotten Tomatoes with approval from just 55 percent of critics, making it “rotten.”
Disney's DUMBO--which carries a $170M price tag--drops in 4,259 big tops this weekend. Step right up, place your bets. $45M--over or under?— Exhibitor Relations Co. (@ERCboxoffice) March 28, 2019
That’s the first rotten among Disney’s crop of animated redos since 2014’s Maleficent, the Sleeping Beauty re-imagining that still went on to conjure up $758 million at the global box office. (2016’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, a critical and commercial bomb, had little in common with Disney’s 1951 film.)
According to Box Office Mojo, Disney is anticipating a $50+ million opening weekend while some sources expect Dumbo to fly to $60-65 million when the big-eared elephant rolls out to more than 4,200 theaters.
The lower end projects put Dumbo ahead of last summer’s Christopher Robin ($24.6m opening, $197 box office) and 2016’s Looking Glass ($26.9m opening, $299m BO), and Pete’s Dragon ($21.5m opening, $143m BO). Cinderella in 2015 opened to $67m, going on to gross $543m, followed by 2016’s The Jungle Book ($103m opening, $966m BO) and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast ($174m opening, $1.26b BO). Disney is also hoping for big numbers with Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, starring Will Smith as the blue-skinned Genie brought to life by Robin Williams in the 1992 animated film, and the Jon Favreau-directed The Lion King, a virtual production remake of the 1994 film.
Dumbo, starring Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, and Michael Keaton, opens March 29. Marvel Studios next releases Avengers: Endgame April 26.
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