‘Miss Pere­grine’ bests ‘Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon’ at box of­fice

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Jake Coyle AP Film Writer

NEW YORK » In a box-of­fice rar­ity, three ac­claimed, orig­i­nal films from stu­dios opened in the­aters over the week­end. Only one caught on. Tim Bur­ton’s lat­est fan­tas­ti­cal odd­ity, “Miss Pere­grine’s Home for Pe­cu­liar Chil­dren,” de­buted with a hefty $28.5 mil­lion, lead­ing North Amer­ica ticket sales, ac­cord­ing to stu­dio es­ti­mates Sun­day.

Peter Berg’s well-re­viewed dis­as­ter movie “Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon,” about the 2010 oil rig ex­plo­sion, how­ever, failed to tap North Amer­i­can movie­go­ers, open­ing with an es­ti­mated $20.6 mil­lion. And Dis­ney’s up­lift­ing chess prodigy tale “Queen of Katwe,” star­ring David Oyelowo and Lupita Ny­ong’o, brought in a dis­mal $2.6 mil­lion in its na­tional ex­pan­sion.

Orig­i­nal­ity, that of­ten lamented miss­ing in­gre­di­ent in stu­dio prod­ucts, can lead to box of­fice suc­cess, just as it can dis­ap­point­ment. For 20th Cen­tury Fox, the draw of “Miss Pere­grine’s Home for Pe­cu­liar Chil­dren” was pred­i­cated on the idio­syn­crasy of Bur­ton fun­neled into an ac­ces­si­ble tale, adapted from Ran­som Rigg’s pop­u­lar young-adult novel.

“It val­i­dates the whole no­tion of why we made this film, which is some­thing that’s very orig­i­nal and cre­ative,” said Chris Aron­son, pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion at Fox. “At least I feel that that’s what au­di­ences are look­ing for. There’s some fa­tigue with the same old, same old. And if there’s any­thing this movie isn’t, it’s that.”

The film cost $110 mil­lion to make, mean­ing it will need a strong per­for­mance over­seas to be prof­itable. It started out with $36.5 mil­lion in 59 mar­kets. Re­gard­less, it’s a come­back of sorts for Bur­ton at the box of­fice. It’s his best open­ing since 2012’s lack­lus­ter “Dark Shad­ows.”

Lion­s­gate’s “Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon,” star­ring Mark Wahlberg, also cost at least $110 mil­lion to make, yet it only man­aged $20.6 mil­lion in its de­but. The film, which first pre­miered at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, brought all the big-bud­get flare of an ac­tion movie (in­clud­ing a nearly life-size replica of the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon oil rig) to the April 2010 ex­plo­sion, which killed 11 men and for weeks spilled mil­lions of bar­rels of oil into the Gulf of Mex­ico.

The film’s per­for­mance is an­other blow for the strug­gling Lion­s­gate, which has had dif­fi­culty find­ing hits since “The Hunger Games” saga fin­ished. Its stock price has fallen and the de­par­ture of its movie chief Rob Friedman was an­nounced last month. It does how­ever have a film, Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” due later this year, that’s ex­pected to be an Os­car fa­vorite.

Au­di­ences have had a sur­pris­ing amount of adult­driven op­tions at the mul­ti­plex of late, in­clud­ing an­other true tale, Clint East­wood’s “Sully” (up to $105.4 mil­lion in four weeks), and the Den­zel Wash­ing­ton-led Western re­make, “The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven,” which slid to third place with $15.7 mil­lion in its sec­ond week.

“Queen of Katwe,” di­rected by Mira Nair, tried to lure fam­ily au­di­ences to the in­spir­ing true story of a chess player from the Ugan­dan slums. But the Dis­ney re­lease took in just $2.6 mil­lion on 1,242 screens af­ter first de­but­ing it on 52 screens last week.

Paul Der­garabe­dian, se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst for comS­core, pointed to bud­get as the sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor among the trio of orig­i­nals, par­tic­u­larly in the case of the pricey “Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon.”

“All three of those orig­i­nal movies were ex­pected to do bet­ter,” Der­garabe­dian. “I give the stu­dios credit be­cause they were good movies. They were not se­quels or re­boots, and yet you’re com­ing across au­di­ences who are dis­in­ter­ested or dis­tracted.”

Orig­i­nally slated for re­lease in sum­mer 2015, the Zach Galifianakis, Kris­ten Wiig heist com­edy “Master­minds” sat on the shelf for a year while its dis­trib­u­tor, Rel­a­tiv­ity Me­dia, went through chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy protection. It opened with a medi­ocre $6.6 mil­lion.

Two other notable films opened in lim­ited re­lease, with plans for later ex­pan­sion. An­drea Arnold’s road trip odyssey “Amer­i­can Honey,” with Shia LaBeouf and new­comer Sasha Lane, de­buted with $75,370 on four screens, while “De­nial,” star­ring Rachel Weisz, opened with $102,101 on five screens.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

From left, Lau­ren McCrostie, Pixie Davies, Cameron King, Thomas and Joseph Od­well and Ella Pur­nell ap­pear in a scene from “Miss Pere­grine’s Home for Pe­cu­liar Chil­dren.”

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