‘Miss Peregrine’s’ school gets top grades at box office

By Tre’vell Anderson

Los Angeles Times


LOS ANGELES — “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” from 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment, bested fellow new release Lionsgate’s “Deepwater Horizon” and expelled last week’s victor, “The Magnificent Seven.”

“Miss Peregrine” brought in an estimated $28.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, meeting analyst expectations of $25 million to $30 million in its opening week. It pulled in $36.5 million internationally.

“I’m very excited about it. We’re thrilled,” said Chris Aronson, the studio’s domestic distribution chief. “That, coupled with the international opening, we’re really happy.”

Adapted from the popular fantasy novel by Ransom Riggs, about an orphanage for fantastically gifted kids, the film is directed by Tim Burton. Starring Eva Green, Samuel Jackson and Judi Dench, among others, it cost $110 million to make.

Such a strong debut for the film is a positive omen for Burton, whose darkly quirky films haven’t enjoyed much commercial success since his 2010 3-D megahit, “Alice in Wonderland.” Additionally, with such high interest and parallels to films such as the “X-Men” and “Harry Potter” series, there is a chance that the picture will prove popular enough to start a Hollywood franchise.

“Audiences have come to see this movie because it represents what consumers are looking for in movies: originality and creativity,” Aronson said.

Theatergoers (59 percent female, 51 percent under 25 years old) and critics appear mixed about the film, however. Given a B-plus CinemaScore, only about 64 percent of Rotten Tomatoes critics favored the picture.

“Deepwater Horizon” took the second spot with $20.6 million in ticket sales. The Mark Wahlberg action movie about the BP oil-spill disaster of 2010 slightly surpassed analyst projections of $16 million to $20 million domestically.

“Deepwater” is directed by Peter Berg, whose last effort, “Lone Survivor” (also starring Wahlberg), was a major heartland hit in 2013. Lorenzo di Bonaventura of “Transformers” fame produced the “Deepwater” film for Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment, with co-financing from Participant Media. It cost more than $100 million to make, after factoring in tax credits.

Focusing on the members of the crew on the ill-fated rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the film was a major gamble for the companies behind it, at a time when the big funding typically goes to superhero movies and other franchise material rather than original ideas based on recent news events.

But generally positive reviews (88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and an A-minus CinemaScore), heroic themes and Wahlberg’s star power are likely to bolster long-term prospects for the picture.

“The Magnificent Seven” came in third in its second week, with $15.7 million for a domestic gross to date of $61.6 million. Sony and MGM’s western remake starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, which bowed to $35 million last week, experienced a 55 percent drop when only a 50 percent decrease was projected by analysts.

In fourth was “Storks,” from Warner Bros., with $13.8 million in its second week. The animated flick has pulled in an estimated $38.8 million since its premiere.

Rounding out this week’s top five is Warner Bros.’ “Sully,” which added another $8.4 million to its gross. Four weeks in, the film has pulled in $105.4 million.

As for another new release, Relativity Studios’ “Masterminds” landed the sixth spot with $6.6 million. Analysts accurately projected less than $10 million.

Such a performance is a modest start for a comedy with two high-profile stars such as Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig. The film follows the two on a heist.

While audiences gave “Masterminds” a B-minus CinemaScore, critics were less favorable. Only 38 percent of them on Rotten Tomatoes rated it positively.

In limited release, Bleecker Street’s “Denial” opened in five theaters to $102,101. That’s a per screen average of $20,420. The film, starring Rachel Weisz, is about a professor being sued by a source in her book about the Holocaust.

Also, Walt Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” expanded to more theaters, adding $2.6 million to its run. Starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, the picture has grossed a total of $3 million in two weeks.

Next weekend opening in theaters is Universal’s “The Girl on the Train,” Fox Searchlight’s “The Birth of a Nation” and Lionsgate’s “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.”


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